Finding Happy During a Pandemic

submitted by Gloria Herms, contributing writer
It’s Sophia’s birthday today. She’s three. Rachael will be making a wonderful cake for her. They will celebrate it with their little family. No extended family- my heart is breaking. I cry almost every morning as I am hit with the loneliness of distance and no touching. No hugging. No kissing. I have seen my children on face time- a glimpse of the kids. It’s been 9 days, only, but feels like a lifetime. The uncertainty of when will I see or embrace them again?? Hangs on me like a cloak. Where we all just say “I hope this is over soon”. So what is “soon”? Is “soon” on the calendar? My hope is just suspended; as is life, which was normal. A new normal is invading. I don’t want it. I can’t stop it. I can’t control it.. We say, “This sucks”. But my heart is hurting. Because I feel deprived in a different way, no touch, no hugs, no massage appointments, no chiropractor appointments. Exercise and yoga are done on my own, alone, when I feel the motivation. I did last weekend, but now, I cry instead. So I focus on positives and gratitude. I do really, daily, after my fits of sadness and tears leave.

Thank God that it is spring and flowers blooming. Weather warming. Trees becoming green! Oh it is beautiful at this time. It’s as if the seasons turn without regard – the birds are singing right now, as I sit on my balcony this morning, taking in all the beauty. If I stay out of my head- this is a normal spring Saturday morning off work. There is the sound of children playing; there are kids in the neighborhood that play in the back driveway that brightens up this neighborhood. This morning, a little boy was chasing a squirrel back here and he saw my neighbors on the balcony. He stopped and looked up to them and said “My mom said I cannot be around you because of the virus. So it’s a good thing you’re up there”. Then he skipped on his way with his Frisbee in hand.  That broke the spell of normalcy.  That’s what broke me. My tears came, a reminder of this sick planet. That keeps turning, that keeps changing into its next season, that blooms and buds and turns green and the birds are celebrating, unaware of the human race hiding out. Each individual around the globe has their own experience, yet, we are all united in this same experience. My loneliness is not unique to me or many. Some are alone in their institutions, no visitors allowed. Some are alone in their homes, they are at greater risks and are told to stay protected as much as possible and others can help out and check on them.  But, there are others who never had anyone in the first place, what is so different for the recluse? Their world consisting of a trip out occasionally for supplies, and then huddling around their TV all hours of the day and night. I don’t know.

My work of course is changing rapidly, daily. I’m grateful to have a paycheck, but I cannot embrace the new normal yet. It’s stressful, it’s hard, and it’s scary. I do get to touch another human being, after I gown and don all the PPE. : Face shield, 2 masks 2 gloves… It’s hot and impersonal as the patient cannot distinguish one caregiver to the next as we all look similar in our outward gear. I struggle to stay here in the present moment. It does no good to watch the news of its foreboding doom and the reports of how bad it’s getting, the increased deaths, the sickness spreading, its invisible, insidious tentacles around our globe, our nation, each one of our lives-not detectable until it’s too late. We are feebly trying to dodge an invisible evil force that is sweeping us up.

So, if I stay in this present moment, this is what it is- right now.  I see green in the woods behind my apartment; all the trees budding up overnight, there are beautiful glimpses of spring flowers everywhere, Skies blue with comfortable clouds, birds singing, Children outside playing. The temperature is perfect. I am comfortable in my chair, pillows, soft blanket, and coffee. This could be any other morning. So I’ll just be. And move forward for the next thing. Today, I’ll get out. I can meet up with my friend, at a distance. We’ll walk in the cemetery to take in the beauty and to communicate with each other as much as allowed, no touching, just talking, laughing, and walking. My kids; I’ll talk to then today over the phone and maybe we can ‘celebrate’ Sophia’s birthday later on a face time call.

I can do yoga, exercise, text, read, create, clean- So many positive things. I’ll pray and trust and hope; Hope for ‘soon’ to be soon.

March 28, 2020

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