9-year-old writes to self amid the pandemic: “Feeling sad is normal—so is missing your friends”

Marhiel Garrote
·5 min read

Since the pandemic started, many us of are confined to our homes—which left us asking how to deal with isolation. How can we cope when we’re far from our family and loved ones? Apart from the strict measures to ensure our safety from the virus, having to battle it alone must be one of the hardest things to deal with.

What to read in this article:

  • An open letter to a young girl

  • Tips on how parents help their kids to cope with isolation.

how to deal with isolation
how to deal with isolation

How to deal with isolationI? | Image from iStock

As we navigate how to deal with isolation, we often overlook that our children are in the same boat. Our main concern is to keep them safe from the virus, complying with safety protocols and the shift to online classes. They are home. They are safe.

But the truth is kids also feel the struggle of social isolation.

I saw how my cousins cried when school started. She was upset because she couldn’t talk to her friends and bond with them the way they used to. She wanted the old normal not the new normal, she said. And she is not alone in not knowing how to deal with isolation.

Contessa, a 9-year-old student in Metro Manila, pens a heartfelt message to herself, cheering herself up and encouraging herself to soldier on.

How to deal with isolation: The bravery of our young ones

It started with a homework, says Daddy Jerry. His daughter Contessa was tasked to write two letters—one for an imaginary penpal and another one for herself. She named her penpal, Mina, who feels sad and misses her friends a lot.

Daddy Jerry was surprised to read his daughter’s letters.

how to deal with isolation
how to deal with isolation

It reads:

Dear Me,

You’ll get through this if you stay strong. Just distract yourself. You should be thankful you’re still alive. You should be grateful you’re still sane. You’re lucky, lucky that it doesn’t take much to make you happy and that others don’t need to do much to make you happy.

From: Me

how to deal with isolation
how to deal with isolation

Contessa’s letter to her penpal “Mina” was just as heartbreaking.

Dear Mina,

Remember feeling sad is normal, and so is missing your friend. You just have to stay strong and get over it. Maybe, you just have to distract yourself by doing something you love (well, things that you can do, of course). But remember, if you miss them too much, you can always text or video chat them. But that’s not the point here, just remember, stay strong and you’ll get through this.

Dear Contessa

I cannot even imagine these words are coming from the little voice of a young girl. Even though Contessa is just a 9-year old kid, she already knows how to keep positive. Her letters remind us all that if she can, then we can.

So here’s our answer to Contessa.

Dear Contessa,

With your letter, you’ve reminded us that young or old, we all feel out of place in the new normal. There is a shared loneliness that we are feeling. 

The pandemic has robbed us of spending time with loved ones, catching up with friends, and celebrating milestones and occasions with each other. It has robbed us seeing people’s faces and smiles—now covered with masks and shields. It has robbed us of hugs, handshakes, and holding hands.

This pandemic has taken away what we crave the most: human connection.

But there is hope. 

Like what you said, whether you are 9 or 91, it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to miss people. It’s okay to acknowledge all these new feelings you are feeling.

I would like to believe that what is happening now is just a chapter in our collective history. Yes, we will get through this, as you said. With the right distraction, we can somehow fill the void we are feeling. 

Schedule a Zoom call with your friends. Take turns teaching each other’s hobbies. Do online plays, showcasing your talents! 

We all have to be strong. But if you ever feel tired of being strong, it’s okay, too. Talk to mommy and daddy about it. Sometimes when we feel weak, all we need is for someone to pull us back up.

Soldier on, Contessa. Your positivity is infectious!

Your friend,



How we can help our kids to deal with isolation?

how to deal with isolation
how to deal with isolation

Image from iStock

Isolation brings our kids loneliness and us parents cannot control their feelings. But we can at least help them to be more positive and less lonely. Here are ways on how we can help our kids during this time of isolation from Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital:

Parents, deal with your mental health struggles first

To be able to help our kids, we should help ourselves first. Us parents have a lot of anxieties too because of the pandemic and isolation. It’s important for parents to be have a good mental health and be more positive. Children, most often, mimic their parents. 

Recognize your child’s feelings

We should learn how to acknowledge our kids’ feelings. Talk to them and ask them how they feel. Be more understanding and let them feel that you are there for them.

Make a routine for your child

Making a daily routine for your child could help deal with the isolation they are feeling. Since the child is not allowed to go out, give the child a sense of normalcy. Create a structured daily routine like exercise, chores, crafts, and reading.

Allow your kids to socialize

Kids are not allowed to go outside and socialize and play with their friends. The best way to do this is allow them to have time to socialize using technology. Schedule a Zoom playdate where they can play online games.

Just remember that you should monitor your kids in social media. 

All in all, dealing with isolation is both hard for adults and kids, but we can get through this. We are strong and together we will overcome these challenges that we are facing.




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