I’m going to preface this with a personal intro to my background. My name is Victoria Kavanagh, formerly Victoria Huber. I am 25 years old and I was in foster care for a brief stay before I turned 18 years old when my dad, who was the only one caring for me at the time, got very ill and was in a coma for almost a year. My mother had lost her parental rights when I was 12 years old, due to being physically and mentally abusive to me and my dad. She was so aggressive and mentally ill that she once put my dad in the hospital, and she went to jail. She constantly beat me and threatened to end my life. I still believe she was very mentally ill and still likely is, but she refused to ever get help so for my own safety, I could no longer see her. All this to explain, I couldn’t stay with her when my dad fell ill, so I had to be placed in foster care until he eventually got better and came out of the coma he was in. Thankfully he did, almost a year later.
Recently a pandemic emerged throughout the world, first China, then Italy and now, much of the United States has been impacted by it. Due to the severity of COVID-19 and the death and sickness stats that keep rising every day, many events have been canceled, and many small and large businesses have had to shut down until the virus gets under control. Schools have switched to online learning only, and many non-essential places have had to close for the safety of everyone.
This has personally affected me, in many ways. I was planning to take some classes this upcoming semester to begin my goal of attaining my bachelor’s degree, but due to the closing of face-to-face classes, I must postpone taking the classes. Even if the classes I needed to take were offered online, I am not a very good learner with online classes and learn better hands-on, with a teacher in the room able to help if needed. Along with postponing classes, I also lost my job temporarily. I had just gotten a full-time job at Opti-Mart a couple months ago, and due to the severity of COVID-19, my job had to close until further notice. Opti-Mart is a small business that sells glasses and offers eye exams, to those in need, but most of our patients are elderly so we had no choice but to close until everything going on gets resolved.
The pandemic has also affected my daughter. She’s only 3 years old so she doesn’t understand why all the things she loves are closed. We’d often go to the park, and the beach as well as the library to play and learn. I tried to explain it to her best I could, but all she really understands (at this age), is that everywhere she loves to go is closed and the day they reopen couldn’t come soon enough! I love her and I am enjoying this extra time to play with her and bond with her, so it isn’t all bad, but all the change happening right now is hard for her to understand, so I’m praying things get resolved in a timely manner. For the sake of all those who are dying and falling very ill, I’m praying that no more die from this, and that we as a nation can stop the spread of it in its tracks.
To conclude, we need to be more mindful of where we go, what we touch and become more sanitary for the safety of ourselves as well as those around us. If I’ve learned anything from this pandemic, it’s that we need to truly appreciate all that we have, because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed – especially not now. And we need to take a step back and truly be grateful for the life we have, the things we get to experience every day and also we need to be kind to one another. People are hoarding so much needed supplies that there aren’t enough for the people who really need the supplies to get any. I’m praying this brings us closer together as a nation, not farther apart, and that it truly instills gratitude in the lives of everyone.
Victoria Kavanagh is 25 years old and was raised in Dunedin, Florida. She lived with her mother until she became so abusive mentally and physically and eventually lost her parental rights when Kavanagh was about 12 years old. Then Kavanagh lived with her dad recovering from all the abuse she endured from her mother until her dad fell ill and went into a coma for a year. While he was in the hospital for that year, Kavanagh was placed in foster care and lived in a group home. While in the group home, Kavanagh developed some friendly relationships with the people in there, even inviting some of the kids to church. Kavanagh likes to believe that some of them learned something from joining her church community. Today she is grateful for those who mentored her and helped her when she was struggling, which gives her hope in humanity.