Saturday, April 4, 2020.
Hello, my friends.
How things have changed.
My last post, the one about my beloved Zoë’s passing, was written nearly nine months ago. It’s hard to believe she’s been gone that long. It’s even harder to believe how drastically life has changed since then, and how much death and loss have now become part of our daily lives.
It is Saturday, April 4, 2020, and we are on Day 23 of our shelter-in-place adventures here in Orangeville, Ontario. We began our adventure, ominously enough, on Friday the 13th of March. Since then, I have left the house only once (besides neighbourhood walks)—to go to the bank with Melody to do bank business. Melody has left the house only three times: The bank meeting, to go pick up prescriptions, and to do a grocery run.
Today, however, I talked to a neighbour over the fence for nearly half an hour. After I came inside, I did a little happy dance, a little jig of victory: “I talked to a person! A real, live person! An in-person person!”, I sang in a little insta-ditty as I moved my feet around in a parody of an actual dancer.
The songlet went on. “A person who isn’t my marriage person, a person who isn’t my wife! I talked to a human in real life! I scored! 30 points to Wiseheart House! Score! Hooray!”
You can deduce from the above what you will—I’m a lunatic (well, yes); I need to get out more (don’t we all, at this point); I’ve been listening to too many Harry Potter audiobooks (This time, I think I finally understand how to play Quiddich!); or perhaps I’m just a wee bit weird. (Full Disclosure: I’m more than just a wee bit weird. Bet that’s a big surprise for y’all.) All are true to varying degrees.
That conversation with my neighbour Mr. D was the first time I have had a face-to-face conversation with anyone since the bank appointment on March 17. March 17 was 19 days ago.
19 days without speaking to a single soul face-to-face (other than Melody, of course).
In less dire times, anyone who heard that I had not spoken to someone in 19 days might rightly be concerned for my health. But in these days, the days of face masks and two metres apart and countless pleas to stay at home; in these days, it is not at all unusual to go for days without speaking to a living, breathing person. We come up with ways to connect via Skype, or Zoom, or FaceTime; we email and Instagram and FaceBook and YouTube in order to stay together, to stay connected; we stand in driveways to shout “I love you”, when all we really want to do is run up that driveway and give and get the best hug ever. The last hug I actually had was…wait. Do I even remember when it was?
Can you remember the last hug you shared with someone outside your housemates? I think mine was the night of Wednesday, March 11, at the regular (and soon to be last) weekly rehearsal for our Achill Choir. I think it was one of the second sopranos, one of the women in my section…but I can’t be sure. It might have been anyone. Mark. Cathy. Eileen. Lynn. Tina. There’s 80+ people in that choir. Could have been anyone.
I wish I remembered it more clearly.
Realistically, we cannot expect to hug each other again—not a real hug, not one with warm arms nor the rhythm of an actual heartbeat—we cannot expect to share hugs again for weeks; possibly months.
That’s nearly impossible to comprehend: Weeks or months without a hug from anyone outside our front door.
Think of that. We who live with someone are fortunate. My heart breaks for those who live alone, and now must face long weeks of isolation and huglessness. (Is too a word.)
The coronavirus, and the disease it causes called COVID-19, have changed all our lives for the present; and, I fear, for all time.
About this post:
I haven’t published anything these past nine months, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing. I can’t help myself; I write at least a thousand words a day, in one manner or another. I wasn’t posting what I wrote because I had completely lost faith in myself and in my writing. What brought me back, so to speak? YOU. You did.
You see, I noticed that I was starting to see more email from my readers than usual. Those who wrote wanted to check and see if I was OK; and they wanted to ask if (or when) I was going to start blogging again. There was one letter in particular that really touched me, a letter from Elaine (you know which Elaine you are). I hope you will forgive me for not writing you back; I can’t say why I didn’t reply; that’s so odd, considering that your words stayed with me every day for weeks. You were so positive and encouraging; I held your letter close so I could re-read it as needed. Your voice joined in with the other folks who wrote in to say: Please, write more.
Now. People do not ask for more of something they think is crap.
So I double-dared myself. I dared myself to go re-read some of my writings, and then to pick parts of them to share with you, whether I had written them weeks ago or today. I’ll probably concentrate on posts written since VirusTime began back in January 2020.
I promise most of them are a bit less heavy than this one.
💖 So much love from my home to yours…
Oh—and hugs. I will put a pile of virtual hugs right out here next to the kitchen door, and you can come grab one any time you need one.
This staying-at-home gig is not for the faint of heart.
Mandatory Cat Photo
Tessa demonstrates proper social distancing.