Monday, March 23, 2020
It’s snowing this evening, enough that the newly emerging daffodil spears are buried, as are the snowdrops and other harbingers of spring. The bird feeder is empty, but the chickadees keep checking on it. Perhaps we’ll fill it one last time, although with bears out of hibernation, the feeders should come in. It doesn’t matter that we must wait to be plowed out; all our normal activities have been cancelled because of the corona virus, so we don’t need to leave the house. We will need toilet paper eventually because we didn’t hoard it, but surely by now everyone else will have more than they need.
One morning this week, I was checking the news on my iPad while lying in bed. As I prepared to get up, I sat on the edge of the bed and suddenly started to cry. It was a silent onslaught of tears, with no warning. Sadness overwhelmed me for everyone affected by the pandemic, for those sick and dying, for those losing their businesses and jobs, for those struggling to pay bills, for those trying to combine working and childcare at home.
I feel helpless. As a retired educator, there is much I could do. I want to volunteer, but given my age, perhaps I contribute more by staying home to “flatten the curve.” All my husband and I can do right now is share our resources; last week I donated a portion of my season’s tips from part-time work to the local food bank; this week we gave a large sum to United Way. We will continue to give financially what we are not allowed to give in time and service.
Even on a small scale I am prevented from being of help. We had planned for our daughter and son-in-law to come stay with us for a week, so we could help with grand-childcare while they worked from home. The day before they were due to arrive, they called to say they all had colds with coughs, so they are self-isolating at home, all sick. We can’t be there to care for them and share the load.
I feel guilty for being so comfortable. Yes, I lost some part-time work. And a trip we had planned for April has been cancelled, with some loss of money and much loss of pleasure. All our normal commitments are on hold. But we live in a beautiful rural area, our health is good, and we have what we need to live on. I have no complaints, compared to the lives of so many. I am impatient to do more, but I have to be content with accepting the requirements of each day and being open to what the next brings.