“All has been looted, betrayed, sold; black death’s wing flashed ahead.” Anna Akhmatova
I don’t know about you, but for the last month, I’ve been searching for the “normal” in my life and there doesn’t seem to be any normal anywhere. I’ve had to cancel our May concert. Projects I’ve looked forward to have gone away. Nothing is the way it should be and there is fear. I can’t find one “normal” thing or the way it should be in my life. Quite frankly, I don’t want to get used to what is happening now; I don’t want this to be the “new normal.”
My spouse is a physician, seeing patients, though not COVID-19 patients at this point, but still am afraid for him. Cancer and hearing loss still happens in the midst of a Pandemic, so he sees anyone who has an appointment, able to come to his office. He is fully gowned and masked, as is his staff. He is no longer able to do surgery except for the occasional biopsy. Soon he will be called upon to see the COVID-19 patients in the ICU at his hospital; it’s just a matter of time. The stories he has already told me about how things need to be handled do not give me comfort. He had to fire someone who worked for him for stealing a huge box of surgical masks they had planned to resale.
I’ve gained ten pounds. I have baked and cooked up a storm, perfecting cranberry bread and blueberry muffin recipes and making comfort foods. I’ve tried to write (last week’s blog was a rerun from past years Holy Week blogs because it was so difficult for me to write anything this year) but have had spurts and stops when I couldn’t sit still long enough.
Two of our sons are with us; our autistic son and the professional church musician. Our autistic son is enjoying having us around more but has to be told over and over to wash his hands. He does have the “elbow bump” perfected but it is difficult for him to not have his regular schedule. My musician son’s students and church job went POOF in mid-March, though he will be able to return when this is all over, whenever that is. He is practicing the piano most of the time so that’s a good thing for a change, since he is usually practicing the organ. Our third son is in his apartment in the city, working from home. He works in the legal department of a health care organization so he is super-busy. I still wish he could be home with the rest of us but talk to him every day if I can. My 92 year old Dad is well; I just wish I could see him. I am lucky he lives next-door to some of my siblings and they are looking out for him.
My chamber choir had the best first two rehearsals of any concert cycle ever and then, we had to cancel rehearsals. And then, we had to cancel our concert. We decided to post live music on our choir’s Facebook page every day so that’s what my son and I have been doing. It’s given us both something to practice and look forward to each day. It’s strange not having something to work toward and this had helped us feel better. My husband has been persuaded to play for our posts and I think that’s helped him too. I’ve learned a lot about recording and uploading and all sorts of useful stuff that will help my organization after this is over.
There are a few other things I’ve learned since we’ve all been sheltering-in-place. The most important is this: be kind. Be kind to those you are quarantined with and those who you’ve worked with and those who you are related to. Give others the benefit of the doubt; they may not be coping as well as you are or they may be coping BETTER than you are but give ‘em a break no matter.
If you are able to practice and are being productive and your friends are not able to do anything but lie on their couch, don’t judge them. And if you’re not able to do anything but take a shower most days and you see all your friends on Facebook writing new cantatas, don’t judge them. There is no right or wrong way; there is just any way of getting through this.
I will be talking and commenting about my blogs on my chamber choir’s Facebook page for the foreseeable future and begin that this morning. If you’ve every wondered what I look like or sound like, here’s your chance to find out! Please comment here or on our Facebook page.
Be well and see you next week.