417 Magazine: What was it like when you arrived in New York City?
Cheryl Longabaugh Webb: The airports were pretty empty, the flights in and out of Springfield were very empty. We flew into LaGuardia—the airport there was empty—and then our hotel was down in Times Square. We got an Uber from the airport to Times Square, and it was just kind of eerie, you know? You’ve seen pictures of Times Square, and it’s always so packed, but there was nobody anywhere.
417: What did your family think when you decided to go?
CLW: They were all very supportive from the beginning. I have three kids, one’s at Missouri State University, the other two have already graduated, and they’ve all been on their own mission-type trips. They would FaceTime me all the time when I was there to try and help get some normalcy in my life at night. My husband is a teacher, so he’s been home for a couple of months. Once I signed up, I had to fly out within 24 hours, and he was great about running and getting things to help me pack.
417: What was your daily routine?
CLW: By the time we got back to the hotel at night, it would be about 8:30 or 8:45 at night, and we left in the morning at 6:45 a.m., so it was a long day. Once you got back to the hotel, they had what was called a dirty lane, and we had to just get in the dirty lane and go straight to our rooms and shower. By the time we showered and got cleaned up, it was about nine in the evening. The first five days were horrible, just losing patients and stuff. I would write in a journal about what I’d seen and my feelings, then my family would FaceTime me. I’d gone with all these plans, like, “I’m going to watch this or that Netflix show,” and I hardly watched anything. I didn’t do anything. I showered, wrote in that journal, and then I usually just went to sleep.