“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
J.R.R. Tolkien – The Fellowship of The Ring
An open letter to our family and friends:
We are doing the best that we can.
Some of us (seniors especially) have been practicing isolation during lockdown – masks, physical isolation, puttering about the home, daily walks, doing our hobbies, reading, cooking, or spending endless hours on screen time. No kids, no friends, no restaurants, etc., etc., etc.
Others our age are still in the workforce or still caring for family members. They seem to be healthy and have made it through by being careful. Some feel hanging out with kids and grandchildren is a priority for sanity and well-being – and are taking the risk. We recognize the differences among our friends and family in degrees of necessity (to be out in the workforce and interacting with others), confidence in one’s overall health, and risk-tolerance.
Some of us sense our vulnerability due to age, past illnesses, and pre-existing conditions and know that, for us, COVID-19 might be our last illness. We are otherwise healthy, happy, and doing our best in life. We LOVE our friends and family and you can’t imagine how we miss you all. But we’re in this for the long-haul. We want to have another Christmas, summer trip, party, or Thanksgiving with you – but we won’t do that until a cure or vaccine is found and available, or herd immunity is successfully achieved. We also know that we’d have trouble living with ourselves if we were the carrier of this illness to one of you or to someone more vulnerable. So we stay home, stay distanced, wear masks, wash our hands until we are almost numb. We hope you will understand our choice.
I have friends who live or work in senior living/nursing homes and that is a degree of isolation beyond what we’re dealing with. We at least have the option of going for a drive, a walk, or even a nearby mini-vacation. Most of them don’t have that option. Thank goodness for the creativity to reach out that has been inspired by necessity and love. Thank you to those who are still finding ways to connect with the most isolated.
My state is currently #1 in new cases per million – IN THE WORLD. This doesn’t make me want to flee – it makes me glad we’ve been as cautious as we are. It makes me grateful for our endurance and ability to get by, though we often don’t know which day of the week it is or what “the plan” is for the next 24 hours. It also makes me angry at the ignorance of our leadership and the heartlessness that puts economics above lives. Yes, we are very concerned about the economy, too. We understand the hardships people are living through – but other countries have lessons to share in how to flatten the curve that we have simply ignored. Now we are allowing people to die at record rates just to keep the cash flowing. Other countries also have lessons to share about how to gradually recover.
We are worried watching these statistics and numbers of new cases rise while our loved ones are beginning to return to work and to school. We pray daily for your protection – and we’ve tried to stop bombarding you with articles and news that justify our fears.
We are grateful for:
- Loved ones in good health and having fun
- Essential workers keeping the world functioning and trying to keeping us alive
- Moments of connection with our loved ones
- Little respites from routine
- Mother Earth and Mother Nature
- Spiritual and inspirational communities who keep inviting us to connect
- Health and moments of happiness
- Safe homes, nutritious food, clean water, air to breathe
- Animals, birds, and changes in weather – who “visit” us daily
- Dear ones in our lives who persist in reaching out in whatever ways they are able
- Quality entertainment and humor
- Beauty around us
- Daily routines – of cleaning, self-care and clearing space
- Virtual friendships that remind us that there is a world and a community of loving people still out there
- Life partners, friends and family who weather our ups and downs with us
- Those who are able to find purpose and inspiration even in these times.
We love you,
Us (those of us still muddling through isolation)