Dear Amy: I have noticed that in many of the discussions about COVID-19, you and others have said things like, "When this is over, we can get together." Or, "When we reach the end of the virus, life will return to normal."

We are now nearly two years into what we were told would be two months. When is everyone going to realize that this virus is never going away?

I'm completely isolated from the world — except for the internet. I would love to get out like I did prior to the pandemic, but I don't see this ever ending.

Why keep people's hopes up and not prepare them for what could be forever?

Amy say: Yes, the end seems to be receding into the distance with every passing complication, but the reason to keep people's hopes up is because the pandemic certainly will end, just as the pandemics that came before it also eventually transitioned to less crucial stages.

Which is not to say that the virus is going away. But the pandemic will shift into endemic status, and the virus causing COVID-19 will become one of many viruses for which vaccinations, medications and remedies treating symptoms will help people to cope with it.

According to the World Health Organization, the only viral disease we have ever totally eradicated is smallpox, which had been kicking around the planet for thousands of years. Now, the only remaining smallpox pathogens exist in laboratories.

Viruses causing other pandemics and epidemics — including polio — still exist, but we live with them, mitigating the risks.

After the tragedy of the Sept. 11 attacks, we adjusted to our "new normal." Nations rise and fall; natural disasters buffet our landscape. Life can be very hard.

In terms of your own physical and mental health, you can — and should — get out. You should spend as much time as possible outdoors. You can safely meet people for walks or visits outside. You can minimize the health risk to you and others by mask-wearing, social distancing and washing your hands well. Humans are social beings, and spending time safely with other people will be good for your health.

You also can examine your internet usage to see what is helping and what might be harming your mental health.

Also, pick up a book. There are many different ways to experience the richness of being in the world. Reading a good novel is one of them.

Share the memories

Dear Amy: My late husband was a very admired Boy Scout leader. He was given many handmade gifts from his Scouts over the years.

He has been gone now for over two years, and I am trying my best to go through his many things and decide what to keep and what to donate.

My adult children do not want these mementos made by others, and I'm not sure what to do with them. Is it rude to offer them back to the people who made them?

Amy says: Not only is it not rude, but I think it is extremely generous and thoughtful to offer these handmade things back to the original creator.

These are artifacts from another era, and if you are able to return these treasures to the people who made them, they can make their own decisions about what to do with them.

Compose a short note, telling the recipient that your husband valued his Boy Scout experience and that he treasured the keepsake for decades — and now you hope that this handmade object will bring back good memories, in a new home.

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