To the editor — I got emotional this morning watching the sunrise. I’ve seen the sunrise from my car on my way to work in Wapato many times, but I don’t think I’ve ever just stood and watched the pink sunlight slowly creep across the Valley’s floor.

Background noise of birds chirping and roosters crowing; my cellphone video and pictures would never do it justice. It was one of the most beautiful moments I’ve experienced since moving to Yakima. And as I watched Mount Adams and Mount Rainier’s snow caps turn pink, I felt my eyes begin to water, and felt a tear roll down my cheek.

It made me think of all the sunrises I missed this spring because I wasn’t driving to work at the middle school. Then it made me think of all the other things that people missed out on this spring and summer because of COVID-19. I thought about my students and how they didn’t have a graduation. I thought about the goodbyes and congratulations that I wasn’t able to say to them. I thought about the education and learning they missed out on. I thought about all the moments that we would have had, but that we didn’t have, because of COVID.

2020 will go down in history as the year that “was not.” My fiancé and I were supposed to be wed at a vineyard in Chelan with all our friends and family this June, but we were not. He was supposed to have his medical school rotations at the hospital, but he did not. My students were supposed to enjoy sports and graduate this spring, but they did not. Sports seasons, birthdays, graduations, weddings, funerals and so many other things, all were not.

I think about how I will explain to my kids someday the phenomena that I’m feeling right now. The feeling of sadness and loss because of the things that did not happen, and because of the unfortunate things that did. How do you put such feelings into words?

As I watched the Valley hills slowly light up, I made a vow to myself that I would get up tomorrow and watch it again, and the next day, and the next. We’ve already missed out on so much this year, and after experiencing the peacefulness and joy of watching the sunrise, I realized that that is one thing we don’t have to miss out on. That’s something we can choose to enjoy every day, COVID or not.

Cassidy Dadigan lives in Yakima.