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Viktor Frankl

"When we are no longer able

to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves." 

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  • elizobrien

COVID Journal 4/8/20

COVID Journal 4/8/20

I never know how I’m going to feel when I wake up in the morning. Some days are dark, ominous—even when the sun is out—and others, like today, are more promising. We dodged a bullet in our family when our daughter and her husband, who came down with the virus in March, recovered. They were very sick for two weeks with all the classic covid symptoms, a hospital bag ready by the door, but they emerged intact. We are deeply grateful; grateful, too, that our youngest son and his girlfriend—who hung out with them when they were likely contagious—didn’t contract the virus. They are all young and athletic, but we know now that youth and fitness are no panacea.

I realize that I monitor the news too much; since we are living through unprecedented times, it’s hard not to pay attention. I try to stick to NPR and PBS, which avoid the drama of the major outlets and offer a balanced perspective. Still, even PBS news anchor Judy Woodruff seems worried.

We are worried, too: for our children, young adults, who have finally gained career traction, our extended family, our vulnerable friends with various medical conditions, and especially Gran, 92, my otherwise healthy mother-in law, who lives in a nursing home nearby. Already, at least two employees and one resident have tested positive. We haven’t been able to visit her for several weeks, though we ventured out one day to wave to her from the parking lot; she was stationed in her wheelchair at a second-floor picture window after we asked an attendant wheel her there.

It’s scary enough that our health is in danger…we have to fret, too, about our economy crumbling. Nursing homes are expensive, as are our own lives, with mortgages, taxes, student debt and other bills. The prospect of losing income now is frightening, indeed.

My higher self “catches” these thoughts, replacing them with happy ones: more grandchildren in our future; a more spiritual, resilient perspective; a new world, humbled and changed for the better. And I am very thankful that most of us in our family have been able to work remotely, though we have all lost some clients.

It IS deeply comforting that we are suffering through this together—as a country, as a world. In our neighborhood, at least, there is great solidarity: neighbors helping neighbors, families strolling outside and saying hello, respectful social distancing, lots of dog action. When we were unable to find Clorox wipes at any store or even online, our neighbors on rallied to help, offering to leave canisters on their mailboxes or porches. We had so many offers we had to turn most of them down.

Sometimes it takes a crisis to wake us up to what is truly meaningful in our lives: our families, friends, health, jobs. As a nation, we’ve been through tough challenges before. But this time, we’ve been stopped cold in our harried, individualistic American tracks and forced to contemplate our collective souls.

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