“(probably we needed it)”

A week ago my mom fell. She’s 85 and doesn’t blame anyone or anything.  It just happened. But it hurts like nothing she has ever experienced.  She fractured two ribs in her back as well as part of her spine – two of the ”thoracic transverse processes” that stick out on either side. She goes from bed to bathroom with great pain, great difficulty and a lot of help. If you have ever broken your own back, you will have a clue how she feels.

Just two days earlier we had been enjoying the spring flowers at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond with Rise and Eppie. You never know what’s around the next bend.

botanical gardens2mp

Nor did we expect the coronavirus. We are extremely fortunate to be in an area that, up till now, has no known cases, and thank God Mom is essentially quarantined anyway. Her community has imposed a set of protocols similar to many retirement facilities of this kind, seriously cutting back on group activities and limiting visitors to the degree that’s reasonable, feasible and sensible. Even so, we are, like everyone, aware and concerned and doing everything in our power to minimize the risks.

Hearing about Google and Apple and other tech companies having their employees work from home makes me wonder about the people who can’t work from home – the nurses, the plumbers, the truck drivers, the shopkeepers – the unsung heroes of our age who keep the lights on and make sure we all have food to eat. The number of people, things and systems we take for granted, the variety of interconnected parts that have to work together for society to work as it does, is mind-boggling. For all its problems, as many things as possible considered, I am more grateful than ever for the incredibly smooth way of life we enjoy.

Hearing about people staying at home makes me wonder about how many are getting to know the people they live with in new ways, or rediscovering books and board games and actual conversation, or working out underlying issues that were easy to escape when we led our fragmented lives in utterly separate zones. Years ago a neighbor who homeschooled her kids told me that when you are around the same people all the time, you can’t wear a mask, you can’t put on your happy face and get through the day and take off that face when you go home. The people you are with all the time see what’s there, the good and the noble, the ugly and the tired. You had better learn to get along.

Finding the right balance in this thing is the trick, and I am grateful to my friend Marisa, who shed light on the phenomenon from her country, Italy, which was hit earlier than we in the States were. She described how they are handling the government restrictions imposed on them, such as staying at home most of the time. “In doing so, compared with the hectic lifestyle we, as Italians, and in particular as people from Lombardy, have always had, we are now experiencing/discovering a new way of living (probably we needed it).” How blessed am I to be friends with a person who sees things this way! She adds, “Let’s take the positive from the negative. Our thanks to our health workers who are doing a terrific job. Good luck to the whole world!”

Let me return to “probably we needed it.” Probably we needed to improve relationships with the people we care about (and now we have some time to do that). Probably we needed a reminder of what’s important. (Probably we all needed to wash our hands more anyway!) Probably we needed to take stock of all that’s good. Probably we needed to get a better perspective, a fresher look at the amazing world that we forget is so amazing. Please don’t misunderstand: Nothing’s perfect, never has been, never will be. Challenges, disagreements and conflicts are ever with us. I’m not saying there isn’t plenty to improve upon. But coronavirus aside, I get tired of all the complaining that things are sooooo bad. Maybe it takes a crisis for many people to get a glimpse of just how good we’ve had it, just how well-thought-out and well-executed many systems are, just how wonderful most people are — even if occasional glitches and/or troublemakers get all the attention. Maybe we don’t need a complete 180 but instead, a healthy balance of sincere gratitude, personal integrity, some steady, thoughtful, reasonable tweaking, and a focus on what’s actually important. 

Thank you, Marisa.

6 thoughts on ““(probably we needed it)”

  1. Your poor mama. I hope she gets better soon.
    The day we had our first announced case in Missouri, I texted my family, jokingly exhorting them not to make any new friends. Somehow I ended up in four separate conversations with people I’d never met before! That’s what I get.
    Staying home as a positive is a nice perspective. I love staying home! Often I hear people complain that other people don’t even have to leave their houses any more because of online shopping, etc. The people who want to make friends, will make friends. We don’t have to worry about that. Humans bond with one another. It’s in their nature.
    Anyway. Health and resilience to you and yours. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love home too! I hope for a renewed respect and love for a place that ideally is comfortable, peaceful and full of light and laughter. May we strive to make it so and ever so!
      Have fun with your new friends, Sarah! See, you never know what’s around the next bend 🙂
      Thank you also for your well wishes for my dear mom. It’s horrible to watch someone you love in pain. But today it seems she’s the tiniest bit stronger. Yay!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So sorry to hear about your mom. I hope she’s able to find greater comfort and relief from her pain.

    Yes; this enforced isolation may well lead to some new family benefits and self-awareness. I do worry, though, about our nation’s lack of preparation, particularly concerning hospitals and personnel and the all-important ventilators that will likely be needed in far greater numbers than we have.

    But it was good to see your post. Am I correct that it’s been a while? I was concerned about you until I saw your response to one of Sara’s posts.

    May we all stay well!
    Cheers,
    Annie

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Annie. Every day Mom is a tiny bit better!
      Yes, it’s been a while. Every day is full, and every day I/we make choices about what’s important. This winter I pulled out a writing project that has been sitting and waiting for several years. Sarah, in her inimitable way, sparked me without knowing it. Even I don’t know how she did it. All I know is, she asked what I was up to, and I told her I was revisiting an old story but I needed a twist. That night, no kidding, at 145a.m. I woke with the twist in my head. So I’ve been at it! She’s funny that way!
      Best wishes to you and yours in the coming months as we face a battle like no other.

      Like

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