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When the world started to quarantine in March. I saw the beauty in survival around the world as Italy sang out their windows, families held each other tight and a new perspective on the meaning of life was starting to take place as we worked from home. As Americans we celebrate July 4th as our day of independence. Lighting fireworks and waving sparklers in the sky. On July 4th of 2020, my grandfather, “Lito” as we called him, sparkled one last time. He had passed from COVID-19. Soon after my Aunt, Ramona Ramirez passed and her son Ernest Michael Ramirez. I had to say my goodbyes over FaceTime and even that was rushed because the nurses were holding up their phones – since family members were not allowed in the hospitals. I didn’t attend any funerals due to covid restrictions. My closure is me telling myself I will never see them again when we come out of lockdown. But, a part of me still wants to believe they are at their homes laughing and my Lito is doing his signature grito to Mariachi music. My heart goes out to all those who lost a loved one due to COVID-19 and were cheated out of their last goodbyes. Let’s build back better. My soul needs it.

Carlos Lopez, California

Photo of a man wearing a tuxedo