Two months ago we had just returned from a month away from our snowy weather having spent time with my mom, sister and friends in North Carolina. We were still anticipating a trip to Italy in mid-May, though somewhat hesitantly. But at that point the President was assuring us that the Corona virus was a China thing, and well under control.
Well, under control it is not. From mid-March forward, there was no looking back. We were social distancing, self-quarantining, mask wearing and manufacturing hand sanitizer. As I write this on May 1st, over 62,000 people have died in this country in a little over one month. I maintain my limited control over an out of control situation by recording Michigan data each day, baking bread, and cleaning out cabinets and closets . I send notes to people that I know who do essential work and risk contact with people who are infected with the virus. I think of the people who work in local businesses and we continue to support local restaurants and shops where people are learning new ways to serve the public, while risking financial losses that may or may not be recoverable. 25% of the residents of our state are currently unemployed.
It is the people in my life who make this chaos containable. My sweet husband Mike whose low key style and sense of humor is a welcome daily companion. My sister, Pam, who retired one day in March, left for an around the world trip literally the next day, made it to Fiji and then had to turn around. Her biggest adventure in the month of April was making it successfully to Michigan from NC without leaving her car, except for a quick stop for gas. And our children and grandchildren who connect on FaceTime and remind us that the energy of children does not change and the connections across miles remain unbroken.
We have been Zooming with friends and Optimist Club members. Who knew we could party with people in Florida, Virginia, San Antonio,Lansing, Muskegon and Grand Haven- all in one day?! We are seeing some of them more now than when we were out rubbing shoulders at restaurants. Can’t even imagine what it will be like to be in a packed bar watching the Final Four again! Or when…
These weeks have not gone without life lessons:
Stay in touch, especially with those who are alone or endangered- or both. Our mom lives in a wonderful elder setting, but we cannot visit, help her get out to walk, or supply her with her favorite bourbon. We miss providing support and more than anything wish for this to be over for her sake.
Written messages have not gone out of style– SAVE THE POST OFFICE! Yes, I love to get cards, people love thank you notes, and taking the time to think and then write has its own creativity. We cannot lose this in our busy days.
Life is not equal or fair. We have no illusions about our ability to stay at home these days- it is a privilege. There are many who must work, there are those who cannot work when children are still home and need supervision, there are many who will worry about more than just having a proper mask or being able to buy flour, toilet paper or chicken in the stores. We can support local business, donate to assist with food distribution in our community, and ask and respond when we can be of further assistance. And not forget our privilege.
We are not out of this yet. Today, May 3rd, our numbers are still going up in Kalamazoo County.