When did I first hear about Coronavirus? I’m trying to remember.
My own life had slowed down over the last year or so with the onset of medical problems. It forced me to slow down and ‘self-isolate’ as I took time out for physical therapy and self-care. While at physical therapy I met a former co-worker and he was also working on recovering from injuries from a fall. He’s 86 and I’m 78.
For the past year and a half, we’ve been enjoying each other’s company, knowing that it was precious time given to us that we hadn’t expected at our age. We enjoyed trips to the Shenandoah National Park, went to lunch or prepared a meal together at home and spent many hours just talking about our lives and growing closer to each other. We knew that because of age we had no guarantee of continuing this time together. Our families were beginning to mention the possibility of finding new arrangements to help us with daily living.
Then, in January, the decision was made that Pat’s family would help him move to an independent/assisted living facility. I’d been going back and forth about twice a week to be with him as he wasn’t able to drive anymore. It was on March 8th while I was there that I told him about hearing the news of a virus that was spreading and how it was spread. Never did I think that that would be the last time that I’d hug him.
I was beginning to tune in more to the news briefings; local, national and global; and the implications of what was developing began sinking in. Then I got a call from Pat that no more visitors were allowed in his facility; no family, no friends and only essential staff and medical professionals. We made a vow that we would talk with each other every day and always ended the call with ‘Love you!’. He was still able to mingle with others who lived there in the common area and share meals in the dining room.
Each time we spoke on the phone, there was a new development within our local area and new guidelines. The growing numbers of positive cases statewide, countrywide and worldwide were setting off alarms. And then the news came that there was a positive case of Coronavirus at Pat’s assisted living place. All residents were guarantined in their apartments. Meals would be brought to them and each day the staff would be taking their temperatures and checking for symptoms.
For me, I’m into my fourth week of self-isolation. I leave my apartment once a week to drive around the block to the apartment complex’s mailboxes. Early on during the self-isolation, my daughter-in-law brought me groceries to stock up on. My niece picked up prescriptions for me, and my sister and her husband dropped off some ‘emergency’ wine. It gave me hope to know that there was help to get through this. Soon I signed up at my local grocery store for delivery to my home. Yet I’m wondering how long we’re going to continue this way. There are so many unknowns.
There are increased texts, emails and phone calls between my siblings and me. My sons are reaching out “How are you doing Mom?”. One son is guarantined with his family in their apartment in Brooklyn, another self-isolating in Saudi Arabia with his family. Another son is on the other side of the US distanced in miles and contact with me. It’s a time for connection and my heart longs for that.
My granddaughter in Arizona wrote this beautiful Facebook post about grieving for her high school Class of 2020:
“What honestly breaks my heart is that the seniors don’t know if they are going to get to walk across that stage on graduation night and take that diploma in front of their family and classmates on the day we all have been looking forward to for 12 years; counting it down day by day as the year went on; knowing exactly the date you graduate.
It could be postponed.
It could be cancelled.
But if we are lucky, it will be exactly on time.
EVERY SINGLE senior wants to feel the feeling of relief, success, and the “I did it” feeling while grabbing their diploma and getting to throw their cap in the air with all of their classmates.
To all the underclassmen: It may seem fantastic, I mean no school for two more weeks?!
Who wouldn’t love that?!
But it’s the seniors that it’s gonna hit the most, when they realize their SENIOR (last ever)prom might have to be cancelled, and things might have to be delayed, and that college, the one they just found out they got accepted into is now closed due to the virus and now they have to hope it opens back up by the time they finish up high school to continue their journey.
I know this is all for our safety and I’m grateful that our health is coming first, and they are taking all the precautions they can. But it is sad. But all we can do it keep our fingers crossed and hope everything ends perfectly.
Keep your heads up class of 2020!”
© Hailey Askew
This morning I got a long email from my son who’s on the front line as a cardiologist. He said that the briefing from the hospital administration is that Virginia will slowly begin the surge like NYC, only a smaller scale, in about 2-3 weeks. The hospital will fill quickly and the surge is expected to last at least two months, taxing all resources and healthcare workers, and taking us into May!
Where I was previously wondering how I would be able to pay my rent if the rents kept increasing every year the way they have been over the last five years, now I’m seeing so many who can’t pay their rent because they’ve lost their jobs! Now there’s talk of a nationwide 90 day rent moratorium.
All we can hope for is that Americans will finally see how distracted we all were and how divided we were with partisan politics. Hopefully we’ll open our eyes to how vulnerable we are and that we’ll begin to take care of ourselves more and take care of each other. We’ve taken so much for granted. And it took a force of nature ~ a highly contagious virus just going about doing its thing ~ to remind us of how precious it is to hug another human being. To remind us that we’re a small part of the universe and it doesn’t evolve around us. ‘Be humble or be humbled’.
Note: I had every intention of writing month to month during this Pandemic. This first post I wrote the end of March. As we all know, things got crazier and crazier. I was unable to focus on writing for the past four months. Now I’d like to go back and try to recapture some of the things we all experienced during the time. My next post will cover April.