(CNN)Natalie Sanchez heard it in her children's voices when their birthday parties were canceled and saw it on their faces when they couldn't play with friends.

It was more than just simple disappointment. It was fear that the world they once knew might have changed forever.

"I think that it's something that's going to kind of scar them. I don't think that they'll forget," says the mom of three in Little Rock, Arkansas. "In our life, there was a before and an after this."

When the novel coronavirus started spreading, many of us hoped the surge of widespread shutdowns would turn out to be short-lived -- little more than a blip on our collective radar. Now, a year into a worldwide disaster that's upended our society and left more than 2.6 million people dead, the conversation has changed.

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