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Commentary: Maybe life AC can become like life BC

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Jean Simmons, columnist

Jean Simmons is a Franklin resident, nurse and published author who won a Janice Keck Literary Award from the Williamson County Public Library in 2014. She can be contacted at

I have begun to refer to events in my life as BC and AC. 

No, not BC, as in the traditional sense, but BC as in “before COVID-19” and AC as in “after COVID-19,” when everything turned upside down. 

Before it was the norm to wash your hands a thousand times a day, wear masks out in public, have plexiglass shields in grocery stores, hand sanitizers at every counter and “6-feet-apart” signs in store lines. A time when we still hugged, shook hands and sneezed in public without getting frightened looks from strangers. When there were still parties, proms and crowded football stadiums.  

Before COVID-19, planning a road trip simply involved packing and deciding on the best route. After COVID-19, we are looking for the safest places to go and safe bathrooms, if not possibly skipping public restrooms altogether, which is very tricky. 

Now, on a plane, we look at how crowded is it not because of comfort but because of social distancing. Does the plane have the best ventilation?

I start to shake someone’s hand or give a friend a hug but have to stop myself. If I cough or sneeze, everyone looks at me like the “plague” woman. 

Do the hand sanitizers in cute bottles have alcohol? Will they kill the coronavirus? While wiping off my shopping cart, phone, my son, I saw one woman who sprayed her son all over with Lysol. I don’t recommend this, by the way.  

I had never heard of Zooming BC. Now, I use it almost daily. And now it is a verb. 

I have to return to my car at least once a day to retrieve the mask I forgot and I have packs of paper masks all over the house. 

AC we can’t pet dogs or cats we don’t know. There are ever-changing cautions and possible symptoms of COVID-19. People haven’t been able to visit family and friends in hospitals and nursing homes as they have before.

A couple of months ago, the father of a friend of mine became very ill and went into the hospital. After a few weeks, he died. The saddest part about his death is that his loved ones could not visit to say goodbye. Not being able to say goodbye to him was probably the hardest part for them.  

My family has been blessed as far as COVID-19 is concerned, and I pray this will continue. As a former nurse, I have great admiration for those serving amid this global pandemic. (I can relate, having worked as a young nurse during the beginning period of AIDS, which was a death sentence at that time.)

There are a few bright spots that have come from this, though few and far between. Families are spending more time together, animal shelter adoptions are way up and there is the general feeling that we are in this together most of the time (until politics enters the picture).

Of course, all of the inconveniences pale in comparison to the toll of illnesses and death that people have suffered.  

It is heartening that, as of this writing, the numbers are better and the vaccine is being widely distributed. I hope that these numbers continue to decline and we will see the day when we can hug family and friends again!

Jean Simmons is a Nashville native, Franklin resident, former nurse and writer. She can be reached at


(1) comment


Thanks for this article. I also have great admiration for those serving amid this global pandemic. My daughter, just out of nursing school, worked her first nursing job at a hospital in Orlando during this pandemic. At first the hospital did not have enough masks for nurses and patients who were not in the covid unit. Later my daughter caught coronavirus, recovered and went back to work. Now she is vaccinated as am I and I can not wait to get back to a more AC life !

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