Thirteen-year-old Paris Brown recalls her coronavirus awakening

By Paris Brown
Special to the NNPA Newswire

My name is Paris Brown. My parents are NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent, Stacy Brown, and the awesome Shenay Brown.

I am 13 years old and am privileged to be a member of the National Junior Honor Society. But more importantly, I am privileged to have such a beautiful family.

My oldest sister, Rikki, lives in Las Vegas with her husband Marc, and my niece, Nina. I have a brother, Jordan, who lives in Maryland, and my two sisters who live at home with me, Talia and Olivia.

The glue that holds everything together is my parents.

But the coronavirus nearly ruptured us in a way that would have been indescribably devastating.

Four months ago, I barely knew what the coronavirus was, and I had no clue it would change everything so drastically.

At the end of December and the beginning of January, all I heard about the virus was memes and people joking around about washing your hands. I didn’t realize just how serious it was.

And even when more and more reports of deaths from the virus came piling up, I still didn’t take it seriously enough. Then one day, mom said she wasn’t feeling good, and that was the start of it all.

Paris Brown (left) with her mother, Shenay. Paris is a member of the National Junior Honor Society. Photo courtesy NNPA

In my head, I thought that’s just mom being mom. She sometimes doesn’t feel well.

Then when dad got sick, mom stayed in her room, and dad stayed in the basement. I, of course, thought this was unnecessary.

But then they had to rush mom to the hospital because she couldn’t breathe.

Then a switch flipped in my head: “This is real, and I need to be taking it seriously.”

At first, I didn’t know what to do, so I tried to stay away, but that just made me feel guilty.

So, I did the best I could to help them get better. I was okay and getting used to our “system,” but I knew deep down, I was terrified.

I didn’t have time to be scared because I had a ton of schoolwork to do (and I still do now), and I had to help take care of them.

You never realize how hard it is to live without the people you love until they’re gone. So, when people ask me if I’m bored, I tell them I’m not. All of the schoolwork and cleaning and cooking have kept me distracted in a good way, so I don’t freak out and get overwhelmed.

This was definitely an experience I’ll never forget because I haven’t been able to hug my parents or speak more than a couple of words to them face-to-face.

But it’s almost over — they got to come out of quarantine next week. And hopefully, with all of me and my sisters’ excitement, they’ll feel better than ever.

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