SoCS

SoCS – What Just Happened?

Stream of Consciousness Saturday has taken a twist this week. Linda suggests since this is the one year anniversary of living in a pandemic, we might want to write about how this year has been for us. Check out her blog if you want to join in – just check out the rules and the contribution of other bloggers.

Here is what Linda had to say:

“Because this week is an anniversary–albeit a mostly miserable one–for most people around the world, I’d like to suggest something different for this week’s SoCS. You don’t have to do it. You can just choose one of the prompt words and run with it as you always do. I might do that myself. But I thought it would be interesting to see not just how everyone has coped, or not, over the last year, but to share our common experiences as a way to connect, to feel a little less alone, perhaps. Basically, talk about your last year is what I’m saying, whether stream-of-consciousness style or not. Or, if you’d rather not, talk about any time period your heart desires. Without further ado, here’s your prompt for this week:”

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “day/week/month/year.” Use one, use them all, use them any way you’d like. Enjoy!


Outdoor Fireplace

This photo was taken on March 12, 2020, out last night in the cabin. My daughter and I sat up on that big porch in Georgia watching the flames dance having no idea at all what was looming.

On March 13, 2020, exactly one year to the day, I hugged my daughter, my daughter-in-law, my granddaughter and my dear friend and co-grandmother for the last time. Now, one year later, we are all a little worse for the wear. In my extended family circle, there are two ongoing divorces, and of the three people who lost jobs, two are still unemployed.

There is good news, though. Yesterday, we received our second vaccination for the virus. In a matter of weeks now, we will be able to visit with some of our circle who are fully vaccinated. Unfortunately, there are some who are in the final priority which may mean July before they are fully vaccinated. Then we do not know if our vaccinations will still be effective.

A new world began to reveal itself our our respective returns home. One was flying as the airlines were hopping trying to deal with a virus they knew very little of. Our family returning to Florida was advised to buy toilet paper because there was none on the shelves at home. I drove the four hours home alone and stopped at a grocery store to pick up a muffin and some juice for breakfast. It was panic inside. I remember clearly a young mother stopping me in the aisle. She had six gallons of generic bleach in her cart. “Excuse me. Do you think this will kill the virus?” I tried to advise her about diluting the bleach but I do not think she heard me.

News feeds began to churn on the hour and it seems to have remained that way. It was a confusing time of feeling vulnerable and considering the prospect of dying alone. Those were dark days.

A few weeks passed and we decided to do remote pickup for our groceries. It was a mystery when time slots would open up and I discovered if I stayed up until 2:00 am, I could get a spot. We are still getting the majority of our groceries that way.

When the mask mandate happened, you could not find masks. My quilting friend in upstate New York made over 250 masks that she gave away and mailed free. I was able to send masks to our children and grandchildren because of her generosity.

Of course we also showed the worst of ourselves. People refused to wear masks and took it out of the store employees. That mentality seemed to have lingered as mistrust in science took hold.

We attended our grandson’s high school graduation via Facebook Live. I took two writing classes via Zoom. All of our grandchildren soon shifted to remote learning. All the concern about how much screen time was healthy for a child went out the window. They were now spending hours facing a computer screen while they tried to make sense of remote learning. They lost interest in Zooming with family and who can blame them. They were technologically saturated.

We have been fortunate. We know several people who contracted the virus and thankfully recovered. I know of three people who lost their lives to the virus. I still get overwhelmed just thinking about how many people lost their lives to the virus and how many people are suffering long-term consequences.

As the months have passed, the nuances of living ran together, much like the ink runs on paper when it gets wet. Life has been diluted. We have changed and all of us have been affected in some way. I had my first Covid dream the other night. I was in a grocery store for an hour when I realized I had forgotten my mask. I panicked. It woke me from a dead sleep.

I have been counting down the days until the official first day of spring. It’s only 7 days away now. It is symbolic to me. A time of renewal and the end of a hard, dark and trying winter.

I hold hope that people remain cautious and we truly turn a corner with the virus. It has been a long hard year. This community has kept me sane and I thank you.

Stay well, stay safe, and hold onto hope.

Blog

A Year In – What Day Is It Anyway?

February Calendar

 

It has been a while since I wrote one of these posts. It was Linda Hill’s idea since we have all been in a fog of trying to remember just what day it is. It is hard to believe we have been at this in some parts of the world over a year now. Exactly how it all started seems a bit of a blur now. I know in North Carolina our first restrictions started the end of March although the virus was already taking hold.

Wednesday was hubby’s birthday which we spent alone. We picked up take-out food from a restaurant and brought it home to eat. Last year, we had family coming over to celebrate with us.

The last time I hugged any of my family other than my husband was Friday, March 13th. I left the glorious week I spent with my daughter’s family and my co-grandmother in a cabin in the mountains of Georgia. We had been insulated from the world. My daughter’s family were warned to buy toilet paper before leaving Georgia because there was none in Florida.

I used the search feature and found the first time I mentioned ‘virus’ and ‘corona’ was on March 14, 2020.

We actually bought toilet paper and shipped it to my son’s family, along with children’s Tylenol because shelves were empty.

I remember watching a few people in Washington and California get quarantined as they re-entered the country. Things started to unravel and the virus spread.

I signed up for Patti Digh’s class “Writers in the Pandemic”. I took it two or three times. Sadly, she offered it again this year. This morning I went back and read some of the entries archived in the writing forum. I had to stop as I felt the tears welling up.

The flow of information was so chaotic, changing every day. There was a YouTube video a woman posted which satirically demonstrated the almost daily change in the flow of information we received. I was going to post it here, but now, a year later after the United States has surpassed 500,000 deaths from Covid, it seemed insensitive to me.

Our vocabulary has changed dramatically including terms never before a part of our everyday lives. ‘Stay-at-home, lockdown, corona virus, covid, flatten the curve, safer at home, masks, N95, KN95, Zoom, online portals, essential workers, key workers, efficacy, the rona, quarantini, social distancing, coronarita, doomscrolling…’ and I am sure there is more to come.

It has been a hell of a year. And still, after what has been experienced worldwide, there are still deniers. For those that have suffered this virus or who have lost loved ones to it, I, for one, will never forget. I have been vaccinated but am still aware that many have not been and some will refuse the shot. Now I am aware of the risk shift that happens when only a portion of people have been vaccinated.

I read that Covid-19 will be with us forever. It may require vaccinations from this point forward. A well respected epidemiologist responded to an elderly patient’s question about whether or not he should get the vaccination. His response was something to the effect that the vaccination turns Covid into a cold.

I am certainly hopeful that this year will see some improvement in the world’s response, but it will only happen if we all do our part to stay safe and keep others safe. I hope we have maintained enough of our humanity to do so.

**Edited to add: Many of our state’s long standing restrictions are being lifted today – the first time since March of last year. We do still have occupancy restrictions and mask mandates. I am hopeful people remain diligent.

Blog

On Being a Backslider

I was very familiar with this term growing up being used when a person of faith fell back into their old sinful ways. But today, I am referring to regressing in my consumption of news.

During the holiday season I was content to limit my consumption of the news, but now in this weird lull while we again wait for the election to again be confirmed, and for vaccines to roll out, I find myself consuming more news.

I have yet to find one news outlet unbiased. Of course, everyone of us comes to each other with some level of bias although we are remiss to admit it. But in my mind, I feel like the news media should be more neutral – and they never are.

I find myself between the proverbial rock and a hard place. I want to know the truth about the virus, the vaccines, and the region where I (and my family and friends) reside. I want to know what precautions to take. Why do I look. I know what to do. Stay home. Mask up. Keep people at bay.

The news the governor had for us the end of December was bleak. Anyone under the age of 40 (not sure why that age) who traveled outside their home for the holidays should consider themselves positive for the virus and should go get tested. No one over 65 should enter any indoor space where people may not be masked. Groceries and medicines should be delivered if at all possible. Mask up EVERY TIME you leave your house, and wear a mask around others – even if outside and socially distanced.

The variant of the virus is in the US. It is more easily transmissible, but no new guidance on what that means really. Is this why the new precautions?

Meanwhile the rollout of the vaccine is not without problems. From those mistakenly given an injection of antibodies rather than the vaccine, to the individual who caused 500 doses of the vaccine to be destroyed, I cannot help but wonder how long until we will be eligible to be vaccinated. And then, we must consider we may still be capable of spreading the virus.

This coming week will be a nightmare for political news with the election runoff in Georgia and Congress meeting to formally count and accept the electoral votes.

This week I welcome my writing course. I am hopeful I will get back to consuming less news. This was the scene in my back yard last evening. Those are the things I need to focus on rather than the constant churning of the headline machine.

Stay safe.

Blog

My Dad, Pulse and So Much More

IMG_1016

I have felt heaviness today. Admittedly, I did not sleep well last night after taking a dose of Dramamine. I could feel the wooziness of vertigo sitting menacingly on the sidelines. I set my clock so we could walk this morning. I knew when the clock went off I did not get the medication out of my system. But there are other reasons for the heavy feelings.

June 12, 1992, I arrived at work at about 7:30 am. I was anxious to get the next week’s work tidied up because then I was off on a trip from Maine to Virginia to see my Dad for Father’s Day. My work phone rang and I picked it up. It was my step-brother’s wife. She told me my father had passed away in his sleep. I was so angry and hurt. I packed up my things, told my boss I was leaving and I did not know when I would be back. The hours and days that followed were painful. I could scarcely breathe. My marriage was already falling apart and all I wanted in the world was a hug from my Dad. It was not meant to be. Perhaps another time, another day, I will write about those next few weeks, but not today. Today, I just want to remember my Dad.

On June 12, 2016, we would slowly hear and understand the horror of the mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, FL. It is still hard to believe. 49 innocent people lost their lives that day — all due to hate and intolerance. I will not give space here to talk about the person who committed such a horrible crime, but I will give space to those who lost their lives.

The outpouring of love from the Orlando community was breathtaking. The loss was palpable. As the mother, aunt, and friend of so many people in the LGBTQ community I will always stand for equal rights for those people who our government and much of our society would deny. The sadness still washes over me like liquid fire. It was so senseless.

Add to that the dire situation with the pandemic and the racial inequality and protests going on in our country and across the world, it is sometimes more than I can shoulder.

Today, my thoughts center around loss, of course, but more about love. The kind of love we want for every person we hold dear should be the kind of love we show everyone.

I miss you, Daddy. SO VERY MUCH.