Read the April 2020 digital edition
I’ve lived in Grand Rapid my entire life. I remember when going downtown could only mean going to a concert or play, and, in my family, dinner at The Schnitzelbank. The city is the setting of some of my most cherished memories: performing Kung Fu with my dad at Festival of the Arts; sharing eggs florentine with my mom at Cherri Inn; proudly attending my grandmother’s art shows at Terryberry Gallery at St. Cecilia Music Center; sitting next to my grandpa at Civic Theatre, just the two of us, watching a performance of Camelot; watching the sun rise in the quiet morning hours to illuminate the city as my night shift ended at Butterworth Hospital, where I worked as nursing tech another life ago; watching my best friend get married under the celestial, tower ceiling of St. Andrews Cathedral; joyfully and shamelessly dancing at shows at The Pyramid Scheme with my now husband; and sitting across from Victoria Upton at 800 Monroe Ave when she said, “When can you start?” and offered me the job as the editor of this magazine. Victoria exposed me to those in our community who work on behalf of everyone to make it a better place. I have spent years telling their stories to inspire others, and I am honored to continue to do so.
It is difficult to come to grips with everything that has changed this past month and even more with what is to come. The change brought upon by coronavirus has been sweeping, sudden and painful. I have been proud to watch our city grow into one in which dining is exciting; I ache for the restaurant’s owners and employees who are out of work right now. Our city’s small business community is a marvel to me, as many thrive while trying to help underserved communities reap the benefits of business ownership; my mind balks at the idea of our community without them. The pandemic has rendered our daily lives and our city unrecognizable. But, while we may be forced apart, we are bound more than ever. While we share in the grief for what our lives were, we also share in the hope of what is ahead. We share in the humility and joy of giving and receiving as we reach to each other to meet our basic needs and care for the most vulnerable among us. This astoundingly difficult moment is unveiling the totality of our connection to one another.
Over the past several weeks, we have covered the development of COVID-19 in West Michigan on womenslifestyle.com, from local people whose actions during coronavirus will inspire you to free educational resources for homeschooling to ways in which you can find joy during shelter-in-place and how to support first responders who are on the front lines of this historic pandemic. I am proud that we have launched the first-ever Women’s LifeStyle Podcast, Inspired Voices. Each episode features a revealing interview with a community leader or expert who offers their insights into the pandemic and shares how it is impacting their lives. And, for the first time 22 years, we are publishing digitally instead of printing.
It is with a deep love for our readers and profound investment in our community that we will continue to provide coverage through various channels in the digital spaces we all suddenly find ourselves in. For over two decades, we have taken great pride in connecting our community; and it is that pride that spurs us forward to continue to connect you to opportunities, resources and each other as we navigate uncertainty together. We are here for you.
We hope you and your family are safe and healthy.
Elyse Wild, Editor