I Will Remember 2020 as the Darkest Year of my Lifetime

Portrait of smiling man, woman, boy and child in stroller
Smiling man, woman, boy and small child on couch in living room

I am a former refugee from Bhutan. I am resettled in Fort Worth, Texas, and have lived in Texas since then.

In October 2019, just 3 months before Covid -19 hit the USA; we were blessed with a newborn baby boy- Alex, in our family. With Alex, we became 4 members happy family. Our happiness was on top of the roof with our newborn until when Covid-19 hit the United States back in Mid-February 2020. My wife and I were so worried if we could save the Alex from the virus.

I continued to work full-time as an essential worker with Amazon as an IT Support. My wife worked part-time in Mall as a cashier. Both of our jobs were highly interactive with customers and had a high chance of bringing the virus into the family.

Due to my job's nature, I interact with lots of workers in the warehouse and touch computing devices every day. To ensure my safety and the safety of others in the workplace who came in close contact with me, I wore the mask, maintained 6 feet distance, washed hands often, and wiped the user devices with disinfectant wipes. I used a ticketing system, chat, radio, and remote desktop connections whenever possible to interact and troubleshoot computing and intermediary devices.

Covid 19 also impacted my family and income. My wife's workplace was temporarily shut down, and she had to stay home. Fortunately, I could still pay all the bills and mortgage from my income and with the help of some savings we had in the bank. My essential worker job was a lifesaver for my whole family during the pandemic. Thanks to the US government for the stimulus check distributed in June 2020, government assistance came when we needed help desperately.

Pandemic also impacted my side hustle online business. Sales dropped 70% as compared to 2019.

Due to the pandemic, schools were shut down in March 2020. Our son - Aawin automatically promoted to the next grade level for the next school year. In October 2020, school years began but with 100% virtual classes. Our 6th graders must be at home all the time taking virtual classes. For our son, virtual classes were not as effective as learning in-person. Long screen time was a great barrier to effective learning. His grades in school got dropped drastically. We were worried about his academic performance.

Finally, in December 2020, the school welcomed students to in-person learning. We, too, sent our kids to school for in-person learning. He did a great job in in-person learning from day 1.

Maybe because of the experience of a tough life in the refugee camp for 20 years, I am always hopeful, optimistic, and resilient. I never knew these hard-earned qualities in life would help me stay strong mentally and emotionally even during this deadly Covid 19 pandemic.

Considering the deadly global impact of the virus, I will remember 2020 as the darkest year of my lifetime

This story is part of a Refugee Communities collection.