The global COVID-19 pandemic might have been a disaster that very few of us were prepared for, but in many ways it served as the wake-up call a whole lot of us needed.
There can be no playing down the sadness related to the suffering of families across the globe as a result of coronavirus, but there are other lessons the pandemic taught us that we would do well to remember.
Namely those about loving thy neighbor, pulling together as one, and remaining steadfast and determined in the face of adversity.
It should come as no surprise that all manner of unlikely neighborly bonds were forged during the pandemic. After all, it was a time when a lot of people were virtually confined to their homes, not allowed to venture out for work or to socialize.
One person who knows better than most what it feels like to be lonely is 99-year-old widow Mary O’Neil, from Minneapolis, Minnesota.
As per reports, she was living alone during the pandemic in 2021, but forged a rather special connection with the two-year-old boy living next door, Benjamin Olson.
“For more than a year, he didn’t see other kids,” Benjamin’s mother revealed. “He didn’t interact with anyone except our family and Mary.”
Fortunately, for Benjamin’s sake, he had an unlikely friend living just the other side of the fence. He and Mary developed a connection via simple things like blowing bubbles to one another and communicating from opposite porches.
Sometimes, Benjamin would bring Mary rocks or handfuls of sand as gifts. Other times, they would play with a ball – Benjamin would throw it, and Mary would knock it back to him with her cane.
As their friendship grew, and Benjamin and Mary spent more and more time in each other’s company, Mary decided to make a gesture that is guaranteed to pull on the heartstrings of all who hear their story.
One day, the 99-year-old arrived at Benjamin’s house with a laundry basket full of toy trucks.
“Mary said she had these trucks for Benjamin,” Benjamin’s mom, Sarah, said.
What Benjamin’s family didn’t know, though, was that the toy trucks had belonged to Mary’s late son, who had sadly passed away sometime earlier in life.
According to Benjamin’s mom, the trucks helped her two-year-old to learn his colors, while also furthering the bond between he and the almost 100-year-old Mary.
By all accounts, the pair remained the best of friends throughout the pandemic. I think we could learn a thing or two from their beautiful friendship.
The COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t easy for anyone. Yet, as mentioned at the beginning of this piece, there are lessons we can take forward into the future.
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