The following was originally posted on February 6 by Kelly Cawcutt, MD, to her personal blog at paragonfire.com.


With 2020 in the rearview mirror, I am reminded of the saying that ‘things in the mirror are closer than they appear.’

Isn’t that the truth?

Just over 1 month into 2021 and I feel as though I can finally breathe again. I can feel the rush of deep, cleansing breaths. And in that moment, between the exhale and the inhale, within the tension of my breath expelling from my body, I feel some of the stress of 2020 leaving with it. I find the capacity to allow myself to finally look in that rearview mirror, one that has been too close for comfort, for too long, and truly reflect.

Within that reflection, there is one brutal truth. Despite all the desires and dreams for the world to ‘get back to normal’, the truth is, that our prior normal is lost. I, like many of you, am irrevocably changed by 2020.

From the moments in January 2020, as an Infectious Diseases and Critical Care doctor, recognizing what could come to pass; to the first patients with COVID-19 arriving in the US, at my hospital, falling under my care. To the fear for us all, but never more acutely than for my family, my friends, my colleagues, and my patients. For the moments of despair, for the burden of grief that I, and many of my colleagues, will carry to our own graves. To the politicized events that divided us. To the inequities and injustices that remain pervasive.

And to the joys. A life reminiscent of one of my childhood, with more time at home, more time together as a family, and the resurgence of board games and homemade bread. To the technology the kept us together when there was no other way to do so. To the abandonment of ‘business’ in many important ways. To the science that brought us treatments, and vaccines, faster than any other time in history. To the helpers, of whom there were many.

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In that reflection, I know I have aged, and changed, in ways I could never have imagined. Amongst the sacrifices of this last year was this blog. My writing for the sheer joy of it. My creativity.

I wrote four posts on this platform in 2020, 3 of which were both written, and posted, in the last 3 months of the year. To those of you who have read my posts, and are reading this one, thank you.

Thank you for the grace to allow me the space to simply survive last year.

Thank you for recognizing that time changes everything, and so do pandemics.

Finally, thank you for understanding that the woman who wrote all the prior posts on this blog is transformed in ways the reflection has yet to show. So too, will this blog reflect those changes going forward.