In the past two months I have had opportunities for silence and sole companionship.

Being separated from others all these weeks is not something I expected, planned, or wanted. The very idea of such solitude entirely contradicts my entire pre-COVID experience. My life (and likely yours) is tethered to relationships. My material possessions have never seemed more irrelevant to me than they do now—what matters most is people. We are hardwired to live and be in relationships.

And though I will never grow accustomed to social isolation, I use the term “sole companionship” intentionally. It conjures a somewhat more positive image than, say, “being alone.” For the truth is, I find there are things to enjoy and embrace in these days of only being accountable to me; there are comforts of a life with only myself. These are silver linings.

But I am determined to become neither complacent with nor resigned to this sole companionship.

A true benefit in all of this is my renewed sense of what is most important: we now know better than ever how much we all matter to one another. Though the grief and mourning for the losses we have endured will accompany us into our new normal, our relationships and connections will be stronger—our bonds tighter for all we have been through.

I miss the people I love with great intensity. When we finally are able to hug again, it will be so powerful—we will put so many broken pieces back together again.

—  Holly Stover

Holly Stover is a member of Yarrow & Cleat’s Advisory Team. Her bio can be seen here.