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To the “Forgotten” Essential Workers: Thank You

I think about you all the time: in the quiet moments of the day, in the loud moments with my kids, in the moments right when I wake up and right before I fall asleep. When I do, I say a prayer for you. I say a prayer of thanks, and a prayer that comfort and safety surrounds you and your family. You are not forgotten with me.

There’s no question that nurses, doctors, first responders, and other healthcare providers are on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic, and the outpouring of love and support for them has been one of the few positive things to come out of this stressful time. However, the rest of you categorized as “essential workers” are also on the other frontlines of this virus, helping to keep us all going and surviving one day at a time. Every day, I’m thankful for you.

To the employees at the grocery stores, working tirelessly to clean, sanitize, restock your shelves, and deal with the stress of customers trying to obtain those hard-to-find supplies: thank you. To the farmers, the restaurant employees, and food manufacturing employees: thank you for continuing to go to work and put your own health and your family’s health at risk so we can have food in our pantry and on our table.

To those in the transportation industry, like my aunt, who is a truck driver and puts in over 700 miles a day transporting essential items and supplies: thank you. Thank you for the long hours on the road away from your loved ones. Thank you for picking up extra shifts to help offset the shortages of not only food, but also much-needed medical supplies.

To the people working in finance, communications, and aerospace and defense, thank you. We may not realize how much we need you, especially in times like this, and yet you still show up to work every day because YOU know how much you’re needed.

To the childcare establishments, thank you for providing care to the children of these essential workers as they provide their much-needed skills and services in this stressful time. Thank you for setting aside your stress to provide a sense of normalcy to the children in your care. Your consistency and your love are exactly what those sweet little ones need.

Most importantly, thank you to the families of all the essential workers. I cannot even begin to imagine the stress, fear, and anxiety you must feel every day as you watch your loved one walk out the door into the unknown, or even worse, when they walk back through the door. I don’t know how you deal with the mix of emotions and the constant internal turmoil you must feel: Were they exposed to the virus today? Is their health in jeopardy? Is our health in jeopardy? Am I supporting them enough? Does my stress show? The rapid and conflicting thoughts and emotions you feel are such an unfair load you must carry, and yet you do. You’re so brave, and you are so valued.

As I sit at home safely with my husband and children, I cannot help but feel humbled by the overwhelming gratitude I have for all of you. You may not be talked about as frequently, but please know that you’re always in my heart and on my mind. I am so thankful for the sacrifices you are making every day in order to help keep us fed, keep us safe, and keep us all going. You all are heroes in my book.

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