Quarantined Welcome| March 23, 2021
As we mark one year since the pandemic changed our lives, we asked you to introduce us to your COVID heroes
I wouldn’t recommend moving during COVID-19.
After spending several years in Eretz Yisrael, we moved back to the States, to a new, out-of-town city a long plane ride away from family and friends. We landed on a late Thursday night. After not feeling well on Motzaei Shabbos, my husband decided to test for COVID-19 on Sunday, as a precautionary measure. We found out Sunday evening that my husband was infected with COVID.
While in-town communities were more exposed to COVID and possibly less frightened by the virus, the frum community in our new hometown hadn’t dealt with COVID yet, so we were very much alone. We were in an empty rental, with beds and a folding table. Our lift hadn’t arrived yet, and neither had our car. Oh, and we had three little boys, it was brutally hot outside, and we had no toys.
My husband, feverishly sick and feeling terrible, went into his bed, where he stayed for the next week. I tried to figure out an escape plan. I was miserable, quarantined in a bare rental in a strange city, with every lifeline out of reach. I wanted to be anywhere other than there.
I cannot begin to describe the outpouring of support we got from the incredible community we had joined. A parade of masked strangers dropped off toys, puzzles, games, ices, sprinklers, supper, lunch, coffees, and more. Text after text came in: “Hi, I am X, I can’t wait to meet you, I just left Slurpees for your kids by the front door.” Then there were the Shabbos meals, complete with a tablecloth, croutons for the soup, and pretty paper goods.
One afternoon, about three days into our quarantine, I heard a loud knock on the front door. I watched, dizzy, as a couple calmly and casually unloaded a couch from their 12-seater van. They had heard that we didn’t have furniture yet, so they shlepped over their couch so I would have a place to sit down while watching my kids.
We kept their couch for a few weeks, until we were out of quarantine and able to find our own. As I write this, my eyes fill with tears, as I relive the realization that even here, away from every support I had had, even during this lonely challenge, there were people so giving and generous that they would lend a couch to a total stranger. I’m still adjusting to a difficult move, but it’s with gratitude for the selflessness and friendship of this incredible community — and an emotional cushion of support that’s remained long after the couch was returned to its owners.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 854)
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