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'A Love Letter for COVID Times': Read a Lakewood doctor's heartfelt suggestion that was featured in the New York Times

'There is no time like a pandemic to have a courageous conversation with yourself about what is really important in your life.'

LAKEWOOD, Ohio — These challenging times have been difficult for us all, not just because we may fear for our own safety, but for the safety of our loved ones as well.

It can be hard to put into words what we are thinking or feeling, and perhaps sometimes words just aren't necessary. However, one local man did about as well with that task as one possibly could.

Dr. Stephen R. Sroka holds the post of president of Health Consultants and is an adjunct assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University. He has also been featured on 3News as one of many health experts providing analysis during the coronavirus pandemic, but earlier this week, it was his literary skills that brought him international recognition.

Sroka submitted a "letter to the editor" to The New York Times, in which he talks about having "a courageous conversation with yourself about what is really important in your life." For Sroka, it is best to convey these feelings to the people we love most.

The Times accepted Sroka's letter for publication both in its printed edition and online, with a staff editor telling the doctor his words "actually brought tears to my eyes." The piece, titled "A Love Letter for COVID Times," goes to the heart of what it means to face one's fears during one of the most uncertain periods in our history.

Here is the entire letter, reprinted with the permission of Dr. Sroka:

There is no time like a pandemic to have a courageous conversation with yourself about what is really important in your life. Here is a most thoughtful way for you to confront your fears and convey your feelings to the person you love in these uncertain times.

Write him or her a letter with this at the top: "A Love Letter for Covid Times."

Dear …

I love you.

I don’t want to die, but if I do, I want you to know that …

Then tell that person what he or she means to you. What are your fears? What are your dreams? Be passionate, positive and proactive. Write with honesty, humor and hope. Be kind.

Then give, mail, email or Zoom the letter. Enjoy the peace of mind of sharing your innermost thoughts. Don’t be surprised if you get a letter in return.

Hopefully your “love letter for Covid times” will be read together with the person you love for a long time to come.

But there are no guarantees. Write your letter today; tomorrow may be too late.

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