It’s Not Getting Easier

I thought this would get easier. When the quarantine started, I thought I would settle into the new routine without too much difficulty. After all, it wasn’t all that different from my life before coronavirus. In the beginning I didn’t feel particularly anxious – I had moments where I worried about my husband’s and our children’s health, but I wasn’t terribly fearful of getting ill myself. I was doing what I needed to do, spending more time cleaning and cooking, streaming more movies and t.v. shows, getting out to exercise. I thought, as time wore on, I would get used to it. I am surprised to be finding it harder and harder, even as restrictions are easing.

I’m thinking about why and I don’t have an answer. I have some possible explanations. Though we saw our daughter on Monday, which was wonderful, the ache of missing our kids gets deeper. Not seeing our two-year old granddaughter for three months is beyond painful. Though we FaceTime, I worry that she won’t be comfortable with us when we finally do see each other in person. When I think about it rationally, I don’t believe there will be long term damage to her or our relationship. But, that doesn’t ease the heaviness I feel.

I haven’t seen my mom in months either. On Tuesday the independent living community where she resides began a phased reopening, which is great news. Other than getting outside on her own porch, she has been confined to her one-bedroom apartment for the duration. I can’t imagine how I would have coped with that! Now she will be allowed to walk the grounds in accordance with a schedule (to maintain social distancing). I worry about the toll this has taken on her physical strength and mental acuity. It saddens me that I haven’t been to visit. Now that she can go outside, it is more practical for me to take the 3.5 hour drive to see her. I feel some relief knowing that, but again, we don’t fully understand the damage done or what the future holds. We aren’t out of the woods yet.

Before this happened, we were in the midst of planning our daughter’s wedding in December (2020) – a joyous occasion; an event I take great pleasure in helping to plan. We have not changed the date or arrangements, yet. I so want things to go off without a hitch, she deserves a great, festive celebration. Even if we didn’t have to deal with coronavirus, I would be worried about it all falling into place. Now with the specter of postponing or making major adjustments, all the unknowns weigh on me.

Perhaps more than anything, though, I am troubled by the news; I can’t tune it out. Whether it is the recent reminders that racism is alive and well or the latest effort by Trump to distract from the pandemic, I am sincerely worried about the fate of our country. I know there are good people – many of them. They may, in fact, outnumber the ignorant, ugly ones. But it seems that the latter have more power than their numbers should allow. Our president represents that ignorant, ugly strain of America. While it might be wrong to assume all of Trump’s supporters are of the same ilk, it hard for me to not think the worst. I am aware of Republicans who are ‘never Trumpers,’ but they aren’t in office and wield little power.

If all a Republican can say is that they wish Trump would ‘tone it down,’ as one person I know said recently, then they are blind to the damage being done. Toning it down doesn’t begin to undo the harm. They are unwilling to acknowledge the erosion of the rule of law, ethics and honesty. People may have been cynical about politics before his election, but after 3.5 years of Trump, the idea of virtue in public service appears to be almost dead. Can faith in public institutions be reclaimed?

I want to believe in the potential of our country, in the bedrock values that I thought were at the heart of our founding. Though we may not have fully realized those values – liberty and justice for all – I thought that the vast majority believed in those principles. I find myself asking if ethics, honesty and integrity aren’t part of the foundation of liberty and justice, then how do we achieve those ends?  We seem to have forgotten that the ends do not justify the means.

Just a couple of weeks ago, as I was walking with a friend, keeping an appropriate social distance, I was offering her optimism. She was feeling doubtful. I told her that science will triumph. A vaccine and/or treatment would be found, and we would emerge from the darkness. I still believe that scientists will find a solution to Covid-19, but I now fear that will not be enough. We are at a point where we seem to live in different realities, depending on where you get your news and your own predispositions. If a vaccine is found, will people believe in it and consent to take it? Will it be viewed as a hoax? Will it be made available to everyone?

The inequality, the inadequacy of our health care system, the vulnerability of our economy has been laid bare by coronavirus. Do we have the will to face these deeper issues? Do enough of us even see those issues? I never thought I would come to a point where I would ask these fundamental questions.

I need to reclaim my optimism. I’m not sure how to do that, other than to wait for election day and hope for a blue wave. The only thing to do is to keep on keeping on – writing, looking for constructive, productive activities, and caring for family and friends. Hopefully the gloom will lift long before November.

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I took this photo on my walk yesterday. Though I appreciated the beauty, it didn’t lift my spirits. That’s how I know I’m not in a good place.

9 thoughts on “It’s Not Getting Easier

  1. beautiful said linda i too long for november and hope and pray our country can getback to where it once made people believe we were a true democracy and sane society wishing everyone in your family well

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  2. You always manage to find the words to describe my heart. I feel like I live in a weird personal zone caught between the beauty and optimism of the spring photo you included and the unmitigated sadness of the news. I am both of these people.

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  3. Linda, you always capture how I, as well as many others, feel! I’m lucky to have my son, daughter-in-law and grand daughter with us and will be throughout the summer. I haven’t seen my daughter and her fiancé since early February. We really miss them!
    I,too , can only hope Trump will be voted out of office! I just keep asking how people don’t see what a horrible human being he is. I keep asking how the republicans in Congress keep letting him get away with all this nonsense. Where are their morals? I guess they lost them along the way!
    Keep writing! I really enjoy and look forward!
    Stay well!

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    1. Thanks, Carole! Lucky you! Your granddaughter is adorable (thank you, Facebook – one good thing about it!). If there are enough of us who get out to vote (or mail in our ballots), hopefully we can turn the tide. Stay well! And, thank you for reading!

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  4. As you know, I feel very much the same way. I so admire how you can express these feelings and thoughts so beautifully.

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  5. Despite the stress associated with going to the office and seeing patients, I know I am actually lucky to have this semblance of normality during this very abnormal time.
    I really think it’s much worse to be home.
    Thank you

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  6. It’s so hard not to be swept away by the tsunami of sad that envelops is every time we check our newsfeeds or turn on the TV. Although I am old enough to remember seeing the carnage of battle in Vietnam on the news as a kid, somehow what’s going on now – the unknowns surrounding a possible Covid-19 vaccine, and the fallout surrounding George Floyd’s murder – is more frightening because it indicates both the fear of a deadly virus, and the ongoing fight for racial equality are exceeding our grasp, at least right now.
    Other points you made, especially those involving separation from family, the malaise and depression that set in from too much isolation, weigh heavily on us all. Trying to find the happy has been elusive.
    Ethics, honesty and integrity appears to be in short supply among the DC power brokers these days, to be sure.
    You always manage to create such thought provoking pieces. Two in one week, impressive!

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