- April 19, 2020
- Posted by: Sharon Greenthal
- Category: family
I have not left my house in 5 weeks, since COVID-19 became a pandemic.
I’ve gone for walks in my neighborhood, and I sit on my front porch with my husband, watching people walk to and from the beach, which they are not allowed to be on anymore. My husband loves to sit out there for hours, but I grow restless and wander inside, picking up a book, turning on the TV, or flipping through a magazine. I don’t do the errands – my husband does. We decided one of us would go out and one would stay home. I am not working at all, since no one wants to read anything except about the Coronavirus, and I haven’t wanted to write about the Coronavirus.
But now I do.
Everyone is reacting to our new, strange, sad world differently. I am very cautious and feel safer staying home until there is a downturn in the number of cases and deaths, while others are comfortable with more interaction with people, whether it’s 6 foot distance cocktail parties or going to multiple grocery stores in search of the perfect ingredients. No way is wrong or right, as long as everyone follows the rules of wearing a mask, keeping your distance and washing your hands. I know I will hear from some, “You see, we all overreacted,” when the stay-at-home guidelines are lifted and COVID-19 is in control, but I will not agree. There is no overreaction to an unprecedented situation with no predictable outcome. We all have to do what we have to do to keep ourselves safe and sane.
Last night, my husband took our dog for a walk and someone driving by slowed down and spit out the window in his direction. How can we feel safe when there are crazy people like that in the world?
The most troubling and most difficult thing for me, beyond watching the death tolls and numbers of infected grow is the gnawing feeling that time is passing me by and I am losing precious days and weeks and, ultimately, many months of, simply, living. I am somewhat of a homebody, so the being at home part isn’t too hard for me – I have always chosen to spend more time in the place I live than anywhere else. I am a cozy, blanket-wrapping, snuggly kind of person. I like naps and coffee and books (so many books) and magazines. But what I love most of all about being at home is having the people I love around me – and that is what I am missing, painfully and with great longing.
I have grown older since this pandemic began. The people in my life who keep me feeling young are no longer available to me for lunches, for Sunday afternoons at my house, for visits and shopping trips and just, you know, the regular stuff. Being away from them – my mother, my brother, my wonderful daughter, my very special and beloved friends – has left me feeling lonely, despite the texts, the phone calls, the Zoom get-togethers, and the emails. I see my son every day (he has been here from the start) and that brightens up everything, but after coming here to work he rushes home to his apartment a few blocks away to get online with his buddies and play whatever games they are playing. My husband and I grow closer and closer, entwined in each other for support, for laughs, for love. He feels older, too.
This is just not what we expected to be doing at this point in our lives, you know? Of course you know.
Much has been written since this pandemic began about how people are responding to it while it’s happening, but what I wonder about is how people will come out of it. Will we return to our friends and family with the same level of trust and affection and connection, or will everyone hold back in fear – not just of getting COVID-19, but of growing too attached and then, when another wave of the pandemic hits, having to remove ourselves from each other again? What will be important to us? Will we share meals, and sit close? Or are we going to all live at arm’s length?
There have been some good things to come out of this horrible situation. I have stopped feeling guilty for not being busy all the time, because it is literally impossible to do so anymore. I have enjoyed, mostly, being with my husband 24/7 and I am so glad he is here with me. I have fallen even more in love with my dog, though he has fallen more in love with my husband, who takes him on epic walks every day. I have cleaned out my kitchen cabinets (who hasn’t, though?) and rediscovered my childhood love of creating art through paint by numbers and coloring books. I have listened to a lot of music (thank you, Spotify!). I have watched some great TV and read a few good books. I have stared out my bedroom window at the three very tall palm trees at the end of my street and felt the breeze come through the window and, sometimes, that has been enough.
And as of today, I have not gotten sick, nor has anyone I love. That is all that really matters.