Covid 19 has affected me profoundly. I live alone and am a senior. I feel more isolated and miss companionship, hugs, conversations, having friends over, and going out to hear music. I miss my mother and family especially being to be able to meet and hold my two new grand nephews who were born within the past six months. I miss going and meditating with people I know at a spiritual center.
I am inspired by the music therapists / caretakers at my mother’s retirement home. Iam inspired by the people I have photographed as they tell me their stories. Often their masks were made by people they love or have a significant message in the design or the fabric used to make the mask. It’s like they are wearing a personal quilt made from by grandma which is imbued with their roots and where they came from – what matters to them. I’ve learned so much about the rich fabric of my town through taking these photos which allows me to talk to these people about their lives.
I have witnessed great acts of kindness on line with groups on Facebook where people are helping each other out in my neighborhood and other neighborhoods as well. I have witnessed my friends Meredith Axelrod and Craig Ventresco play live music every single night since March 17 th at 8pm on Facebook to give us all this joy and distract us for an hour from all the problems of the world.
My 92 year old mother who is living in a dementia unit in a retirement home in Fruitvale, Ca tested positive for Covid in March 2020. She luckily was asymptotic, but not being to be with her and to only get to visit her virtually via FaceTime has been very difficult. Communicating with her in person is optimal as with dementia patient often there are many things that can’t be expressed verbally. I am still visiting her virtually and I bring my dog into the call. My dog usually lifts her spirits. I decided to do a photo diary on Instagram (@maskedsanfrancisco ) of people during pandemic in their masks. I have a few photos of my mother as well.
At the end of July a family friend Ana de la Torre contracted Covid. She was the live in nanny for my sister’s family who live in San Jose. I am deeply sad to say that Ana died due to Covid on September 15, 2020. To mourn her without being able to attend her funeral or pay my respects has been very painful. My mask photos will continue to express the need and the experience of wearing masks. This is a tribute to the caring loving person Ana was. May we all protect and care for each other.
I have created an Instagram account of photographs of people in San Francisco (or San Francisco Bay Area) I encounter who are wearing masks.
Submitted by Michelle Marie King, San Francisco County – San Francisco.