Pandemic 2020 – September

Well here we are! Nine months since the very first reports of this dangerous virus. For most of us, awareness came in the beginning of March when we were learning how it was spread. And when our president, here in the US, came before the nation on March 11th. And here is some of what he said:

Smart action today will prevent the spread of the virus tomorrow.”

If we are vigilante and we can reduce the chance of infection, which we will, we will significantly impede the transmission of the virus. “

We must put politics aside. Stop the partisanship. And unify together as one nation and one family. “

None of this happened! He didn’t practice what he preached.

One month out from our presidential election we’ve learned the president has tested positive for COVID-19. He’s been admitted to Walter Reed Hospital. Each day more of those in contact with him are turning up with positive results. October promises to be filled with drama and October Surprises. I’ve already mailed in my ballot and confirmed it has been received. That lifts some of the stress surrounding these crazy times.

As for me, I continue to wear my mask when I go out among people. My source of trust is the medical profession, my son who is a cardiologist and, of course, Dr. Anthony Fauci. I’ve tuned out the politicization of this terrible pandemic. I’m doing the best that I can over the long haul.

The assisted living facility where Pat is living has cautiously opened the doors for visitors again. Wearing a mask, having your temperature taken and being asked covid-related questions is all a part of the routine. My first visit with him was on a beautiful fall day. It didn’t seem like six months had passed by as we have been talking on the phone every day since this all began. What a gift it is to have him for support and encouragement. 💚😷

Lets All Drink to Lockdown
By Jan Beaumont ©

I’m normally a social girl
I love to meet my mates
But lately with the virus here
We can’t go out the gates.

You see, we are the ‘oldies’ now
We need to stay inside
If they haven’t seen us for a while
They’ll think we’ve upped and died.

They’ll never know the things we did
Before we got this old
There wasn’t any Facebook
So not everything was told.

We may seem sweet old ladies
Who would never be uncouth
But we grew up in the 60s –
If you only knew the truth!

There was sex and drugs and rock ‘n roll
The pill and miniskirts
We smoked, we drank, we partied
And were quite outrageous flirts.

Then we settled down, got married
And turned into someone’s mum,
Somebody’s wife, then nana,
Who on earth did we become?

We didn’t mind the change of pace
Because our lives were full
But to bury us before we’re dead
Is like red rag to a bull!

So here you find me stuck inside
For 4 weeks, maybe more
I finally found myself again
Then I had to close the door!

It didn’t really bother me
I’d wile away the hour
I’d bake for all the family
But I’ve got no bloody flour!

Now Netflix is just wonderful
I like a gutsy thriller
I’m swooning over Idris
Or some random sexy killer.

At least I’ve got a stash of booze
For when I’m being idle
There’s wine and whiskey, even gin
If I’m feeling suicidal!

So let’s all drink to lockdown
To recovery and health
And hope this bloody virus
Doesn’t decimate our wealth.

We’ll all get through the crisis
And be back to join our mates
Just hoping I’m not far too wide
To fit through the flaming gates!

Pandemic 2020 ~ August

Winter Is Coming

Same old. Same old.

August was a settling into the fact that this virus isn’t going away. We heard conflicting information from all sources. The president, without shame, used the pandemic to stoke more left and right division. It was unreal how half the country reacted to simple guidelines toward preventing the spread of infection. Deaths in the USA reached over 180,000. Total positive cases well over 5,ooo,ooo. The president continued to hold large campaign rallies, along with the Republican National Convention, that flaunted every effort of medical professionals and responsible citizens to prevent more deaths.

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This portrait is made with the pictures of all the doctors and nurses who passed away in this pandemic. Enlarge it and you will see. Pass it on as a tribute 💖

It’s a tribute to healthcare professionals in Mexico.

As of July 2020, no international health body has published a global total for deaths of healthcare workers caused by COVID-19. 

According to this study conducted by the UK newspaper The Guardian and US non-profit organisation Kaiser Health News, at least 768 frontline healthcare workers have died of COVID-19 in the US alone. 

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My life is slow and reflective. I’m centered and peaceful. The outside events that are battering my country break my heart yet I know I can’t fix it. There are so many who have lost jobs, a roof over their heads and no idea what the future holds. So many families that couldn’t be with a family member as they suffered with this virus.

My life is so much more enriched by being connected with beautiful people who show strength and wisdom that helps me carry on.

And meanwhile…….

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Winter is Coming ~ Seth Monk

Most of you know me as a positive person, or at least a realist. I’m not into conspiracy theories, or fear mongering, and I generally find a way to eventually flip any situation into a positive learning experience.There is something that’s been nagging on my mind though, and I feel like it needs to be shared.I need to ring the bell 🔔 And the bell sounds like this:

WINTER IS COMING

In a few months, it is going to become darker and colder. We are going to be forced to spend more time indoors. However with the virus most likely picking up due to people being forced to be in closed spaces and weakened winter immune systems, we’re not going to have many places to go. Stuck at home, stuck IN our homes, we are going to be in dark, cold, forced isolation.We aren’t going to have much contact with nature, with the sun, with each other, or much physical exercise. Spending our time indoors with only artificial lights, iPhones and Netflix is going to seriously hurt our mental health. The economy is going to be hurting. More places will be closing down. More jobs lost. More uncertainty and insecurity. More unsureness and anxiety. We feel this collectively in our nervous systems. In November there is also going to be a presidential election. Not only is there going to be a crazy, loud, aggressive surge of voice and opinions and debates, but there is going to be a winner. Or more importantly, there is going to have to be a loser. No matter which candidate wins, the losing side is going to declare war on the country. Trump supporters will revolt in some way if he loses, The rest of the population will revolt in some way if he wins again. Either way, there is going to be heavy political and communal turmoil that will last for months. This backdrop will already bring the collective tensions to an explosive high, and that is just the default state from which the rest of your personal life, with all of your own problems, difficulties, worries, challenges, and neurosis are going to play out.For many people, This is going to be the hardest winter of their lives.I am ringing this bell to help people have time to prepare. Get outside as much as you can now. Get in the sun, get in some water, and safely strengthen whatever kind of community bonds you have. Start thinking about how to make your home a wellness fortress. Buy things to soothe your nervous systems; candles and incense and oils and teas and plants and uv lights and bath soaps. If you were going to be literally stuck at home for a few months, what do you need to make it bearable? In some cases, consumerism is an answer. Get into a wellness routine now; Meditation, yoga, journaling, anything that you can do regularly that can help carry you through the winter. Buy snow clothes and plan on being outside to get your exercise. Start drawing a line with social media and devices. We need to stay present and informed but our nervous systems can not take that stress and stimulation that is coming. Set healthy boundaries, pick your battles, and detach as much as you’re able to. Be aware of how much you really need to be connected and to make actual change and what is just addiction. Make sure you have social networks of people you can call or go on winter walks with. Start creating, building, strengthening interpersonal connections. They will help save you.Make peace with the unknown, work on trusting the greater process, know you are not alone and that things are working to work themselves out. The sun will shine again, the flowers will bloom, and we will again have the chance to be together. I’m aware that this might seem premature, and that people are sitting at the beach currently so this all seems very far away. But it’s in our best interest to start planning (not worrying, not panicking) to give ourselves the best chance and support of making it to next summer in the best shape we can.I hope this message was received in a good way, feel free to share.

Pandemic 2020 ~ May, June and July

Pandemic 2020 ~ April

<strong>Pandemic 2020 ~ March</strong>

Me in the Middle Holding Space for My Country

Me in the Middle Holding Space for My Country

Holding Space #2

Holding Space for My Country

My country is having a meltdown…… and I’m holding space for her.

When I began writing my story a few years back, I was motivated by an underlying sense that outcomes in our personal lives are greatly influenced by the political climate that’s unfolding at the coinciding time. Our attitudes, whether we admit it or not, are formed and shaped by our political ideologies and vice versa ~ Our political ideologies are shaped by our convictions and character for the good or bad. It’s how we navigate through those outcomes that can make us or break us.

I’m holding space for me and my country. What’s unfolding now is not normal and very uncertain. I’ve been in this place before.

[Liminal space ~ When you have left the tried and true, but have not yet been able to replace it with anything else. It is when you are between your old comfort zone and any possible new answer.]

We’re not sure of who we can trust anymore. Sources we thought we could trust have been proven to be false. People who we thought we knew in our personal lives have shown a side of them that has alarmed us. We’re setting boundaries to protect ourselves.  Our country is showing signs of trauma in dealing with the recent events. I’m holding space for America and hoping she’ll find her way.

hand-shake-flag

 

 This moment in our country’s history has become one of those events. We have a president who shows all the signs of an unhealthy personality. Signs that I’ve come to recognize as red flags and abusive over the years. He strives to divide us rather than unite us. How do you detach from the country you love so much when you see it in an unhealthy relationship?

We’re all in that liminal space right now. It’s been a long time coming. We have left the ‘tried and true’, as dysfunctional as that was, and are now moving into a totally unknown territory.

My circle of trust is in my faith that divine grace and goodness will see us through. Wherever this takes us we’ll have the strength and courage to take the steps we need to take. I wake up each day grateful for being alive and wanting to devote my time to the things that bring me joy and peace. Right now, I feel a sense of sorrow for this country I love. I believe America needs to go through this learning experience that’s still unfolding. I believe it’s time for change. I believe many are ready for change.

(My eyes replaced the virus raining down on me with a beam of holy white light from the heavens. I moved all the virus to the outside of that beam.)

I’m holding space for America through these growing pains and hoping to see her move forward to a better place.

© Mary Lou  ~ 2017 (Updated 2020)

Image (c) by Mary Lou

Me in the Middle of an Ordinary Day

** Note:  This is my story.  My memory of where I was when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated is something I wanted to write about.  This is my attempt at telling it in third person POV and I’ve since written it in first person POV.  **

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John Kennedy Family, Jacqueline

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~ An Ordinary Day ~

It was November and an ordinary week day with not much planned except for household chores and getting ready for the upcoming holidays.  Nora’s husband had left for work leaving her with a pile of ironing to do.  She liked to set up the ironing board in the living room, facing the large bay window, so she could look out on the neighborhood.  It had been a quiet morning where she took things easy considering her pregnancy was drawing to an end and she was slowed down quite a bit.

Waiting wasn’t easy!  Over the past year she had had two miscarriages and this was her 3rd pregnancy.  All seemed to be progressing well and 22-year-old Nora could feel the lively kicks and bumps in this last stage before birth.  Her doctor wasn’t sure of an exact delivery date.  He told her to have her bag packed and ready for a trip to the hospital sometime during the holidays.

Her mind was preoccupied with these thoughts when her attention was abruptly drawn to the TV in the corner of the room.  The monotonous conversations of the scheduled show were suddenly interrupted by a brief, alarming announcement. 

“Here is a bulletin from CBS News.  In Dallas, Texas three shots were fired at President Kennedy’s motorcade in downtown Dallas.  The first reports say that President Kennedy has been seriously wounded by this shooting.”

The announcement came and went so quickly that it almost seemed inconceivable that what Nora heard really happened.  She continued with the ironing and reflected on the memories she had of JFK over the past three years.  Her first stirrings of political awareness showed up when she went to a campaign rally at the Teaneck Armory in NJ for John F. Kennedy, who was running for President against Richard M. Nixon.  Standing outside in the massive crowd waiting for him to arrive, she and her sister came up with a chant; “Jack be nimble. Jack be quick.  Jack’s the one who’s gonna beat Dick.”  Her family was proud of the Democratic Party that was working towards electing the first Catholic President.

Both JFK and his wife, Jackie, were an inspiration for her and both gave her hope.  She felt like she knew Jackie Kennedy personally when they each went through the heartaches of miscarriages and loss.   Jackie gave her hope that one day she too would become a mother, just as her husband gave her hope that we as a country could overcome our divisions and adversities, and become greater still.

Did she really hear what she thought she heard?  The report said ‘seriously wounded’.  A feeling of dread washed over her as she thought of the possibility that the president would die.  And then it came up on the screen:

“From Dallas, Texas ~ The flash apparently official ~ President Kennedy died at 1 pm Central Standard Time (2 o’clock Eastern Standard Time), some 28 minutes ago.”

There it was!  There was no denying the finality of those words.  She felt a bolt of shock pulse through her as the seriousness of what it meant sunk in.  Suddenly she felt very fearful and very much alone.  She needed to reach out to someone and dropped everything she was doing.  Nora hurried down the stairs of their 2nd floor apartment to the landlady’s apartment below.  She was relieved that she found her at home and, as soon as the door opened, she began to tremble and cry.  For the first time she said the words that she couldn’t believe:

“President Kennedy’s dead!  He was shot!”

Her landlady, who was expecting her third child, was an experienced mom who always had everything under control.  She tried to calm Nora down.  “You’ve got to think of your baby right now.  It’s important that you stay calm.”  She counseled her.  They both stood there silently and continued to watch the startling news reports as more information trickled in.

It was two days later that she watched a live report of the Dallas Police bringing Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy, through the garage of the police station on the way to a more secure county facility.  There was a lot of confusion and shouting as they walked through the crowd of reporters.  She saw a man quickly approach Oswald and immediately saw a pained expression appear on Oswald’s face.  It happened so quickly there was no way to prevent it.  Nora was watching real life unfold, realizing that it was the first time she was witnessing a man being murdered.   Another urgent announcement followed that Oswald had been shot and killed by a local business man in Texas, Jack Ruby. 

Life changed for America on November 22nd, 1963 and when she stood in stunned silence watching more news unfold over the following days, Nora saw images of Jackie Kennedy, her daughter Caroline and her small son, John-John, standing by the roadside as the fallen president’s casket passed by.  An ordinary day became a tragedy and the whole world mourned the death of our president.

The weeks passed by and the country began to take steps to bring order and safety as more information was released.  The grieving and healing would begin across the country and the world. 

So too, the weeks passed by for Nora with no sign of the beginnings of labor indicating the arrival of their first born.  Christmas 1963 and New Year’s Day 1964 came and went.  The doctor reassured her that all was well and not to worry.  The previous miscarriage had made it impossible to pinpoint a due date, and the baby’s weight and progress were on target for an imminent birth.  They continued to wait ~ one day at a time ~ and then on January 22nd, 1964, exactly two months to the day of JFK’s assassination, a baby boy arrived healthy and welcomed into the family.  An ordinary day in the lives of so many others yet a cherished one for Nora.

And now, years have passed by filled with historic moments that have impacted the people of America in so many ways.  That one ordinary day, 54 years ago, continues to haunt Nora  as a reminder of  vulnerability that always lies beneath the surface.  Just as 9/11 sliced into the heart and soul of the country, so to 11/22/63 will remain a reminder that the perfect idealism of ‘Camelot’ can be shattered within one ordinary day.

11-22-63 

Sketch and writing © Mary Lou

Photo image from Pixabay.com

 

 

 

Me in the Middle of an Ordinary Day (Critiqued and Revised)

This Fall I’ve been taking another OLLI  (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UVA) class ~ Creative Writing for Dabblers.  There are twelve of us and we read our work to each other and offer critique.  This is the first time I’ve done this and I’m getting a lot of value out of it.

On November 10th I posted what I wrote for reading to the class and this week I’m posting the changes I’ve made based on what the other writers in the group suggested.  This is the link to the original post ~ An Ordinary Day ~ JFK

John Kennedy Family, Jacqueline

The new post, with the changes I made since last Friday, is below:

********************

~ An Ordinary Day ~

It was November and an ordinary week day with not much planned except for household chores and getting ready for the upcoming holidays.  Nora’s husband had left for work leaving her with a pile of ironing to do.  She liked to set up the ironing board in the living room, facing the large bay window, so she could look out on the neighborhood.  It had been a quiet morning where she took things easy considering her pregnancy was drawing to an end and she was slowed down quite a bit.

Waiting wasn’t easy!  Over the past year she had had two miscarriages and this was her 3rd pregnancy.  All seemed to be progressing well and 22-year-old Nora could feel the lively kicks and bumps in this last stage before birth.  Her doctor wasn’t sure of an exact delivery date.  He told her to have her bag packed and ready for a trip to the hospital sometime during the holidays.

Her mind was preoccupied with these thoughts when her attention was abruptly drawn to the TV in the corner of the room.  The monotonous conversations of the scheduled show were suddenly interrupted by a brief, alarming announcement. 

“Here is a bulletin from CBS News.  In Dallas, Texas three shots were fired at President Kennedy’s motorcade in downtown Dallas.  The first reports say that President Kennedy has been seriously wounded by this shooting.”

The announcement came and went so quickly that it almost seemed inconceivable that what Nora heard really happened.  She continued with the ironing and reflected on the memories she had of JFK over the past three years.  Her first stirrings of political awareness showed up when she went to a campaign rally at the Teaneck Armory in NJ for John F. Kennedy, who was running for President against Richard M. Nixon.  Standing outside in the massive crowd waiting for him to arrive, she and her sister came up with a chant; “Jack be nimble. Jack be quick.  Jack’s the one who’s gonna beat Dick.”  Her family was proud of the Democratic Party that was working towards electing the first Catholic President.

Both JFK and his wife, Jackie, were an inspiration for her and both gave her hope.  She felt like she knew Jackie Kennedy personally when they each went through the heartaches of miscarriages and loss.   Jackie gave her hope that one day she too would become a mother, just as her husband gave her hope that we as a country could overcome our divisions and adversities, and become greater still.

Did she really hear what she thought she heard?  The report said ‘seriously wounded’.  A feeling of dread washed over her as she thought of the possibility that the president would die.  And then it came up on the screen:

“From Dallas, Texas ~ The flash apparently official ~ President Kennedy died at 1 pm Central Standard Time (2 o’clock Eastern Standard Time), some 28 minutes ago.”

There it was!  There was no denying the finality of those words.  She felt a bolt of shock pulse through her as the seriousness of what it meant sunk in.  Suddenly she felt very fearful and very much alone.  She needed to reach out to someone and dropped everything she was doing.  Nora hurried down the stairs of their 2nd floor apartment to the landlady’s apartment below.  She was relieved that she found her at home and, as soon as the door opened, she began to tremble and cry.  For the first time she said the words that she couldn’t believe:

“President Kennedy’s dead!  He was shot!”

Her landlady, who was expecting her third child, was a veteran mom who always had everything under control.  She tried to calm Nora down.  “You’ve got to think of your baby right now.  It’s important that you stay calm.”  She counseled her.  They both stood there silently and continued to watch the startling news reports as more information trickled in.

It was two days later that she watched a live report of the Dallas Police bringing Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy, through the garage of the police station on the way to a more secure county facility.  There was a lot of confusion and shouting as they walked through the crowd of reporters.  She saw a man quickly approach Oswald and immediately saw a pained expression appear on Oswald’s face.  It happened so quickly there was no way to prevent it.  Nora was watching real life unfold, realizing that it was the first time she was witnessing a man being murdered.   Another urgent announcement followed that Oswald had been shot and killed by a local business man in Texas, Jack Ruby. 

Life changed for America on November 22nd, 1963 and when she stood in stunned silence watching more news unfold over the following days, Nora saw images of Jackie Kennedy, her daughter Caroline and her small son, John-John, standing by the roadside as the fallen president’s casket passed by.  An ordinary day became a tragedy and the whole world mourned the death of our president.

The weeks passed by and the country began to take steps to bring order and safety as more information was released.  The grieving and healing would begin across the country and the world. 

So too, the weeks passed by for Nora with no sign of the beginnings of labor indicating the arrival of their first born.  Christmas 1963 and New Year’s Day 1964 came and went.  The doctor reassured her that all was well and not to worry.  The previous miscarriage had made it impossible to pinpoint a due date, and the baby’s weight and progress were on target for an imminent birth.  They continued to wait ~ one day at a time ~ and then on January 22nd, 1964, exactly two months to the day of JFK’s assassination, a baby boy arrived healthy and welcomed into the family.  An ordinary day in the lives of so many others yet a cherished one for Nora.

And now, years have passed by filled with historic moments that have impacted the people of America in so many ways.  That one ordinary day, 54 years ago, continues to haunt Nora  as a reminder of  vulnerability that always lies beneath the surface.  Just as 9/11 sliced into the heart and soul of the country, so to 11/22/63 will remain a reminder that the perfect idealism of ‘Camelot’ can be shattered within one ordinary day.

11-22-63 

Sketch and writing © Mary Lou

Photo image from Pixabay.com