On March 20th as cities and states began to lock down from COVID 19, I gathered up all my belongings at work and came home with my work computer to begin teleworking for the first time in the 7 years of my employment. I was the last one on my floor to leave that day and as I looked around at all the empty offices and desks I wondered if I’d ever return there again. The answer to that question is still up in the air. As soon as I set up my home office I began my Coronavirus Journal to track my milestones and the lowest points of my lockdown adventure.
Now on the 100th day of working and being home ALONE, I’m loving it. There are no distractions and my work production which has always been very good, has increased dramatically. I could work at home forever! That said, the two hardest things about being alone are the nights which are horribly lonely, and not seeing my Mom. Thankfully yesterday on June 26th after 97 days of seeing her only through a glass door, I got to spend time with Mom outside in the backyard. We played ball and read a book and even 6 feet apart from her I felt like 100 pounds of bricks had been lifted off of me. I believe that when all families think back to March when facilities locked down, they were afraid that they’d never see their loved ones alive again as COVID raced through many senior facilities. I was terrified by that possibility!
Looking through my Journal today the lessons I’ve learned jump out at me. I can count the people I’ve seen in person since March 20th on two hands and I’m surprised that I don’t yearn for more interaction. In truth, I think I may have to turn in my extrovert card when COVID goes away because I’ve learned I don’t miss being around people!!
For the first 37 days I didn’t even start my car and I learned I don’t miss driving like I thought I would. Since mid-April I’ve driven a total of 98 miles, the longest of which was 32 miles roundtrip to the cemetery on what would have been Tim’s 70th birthday and 22 miles to and from my office to get my work computer repaired. I’ve only been to the essential places to get essential things. I’ve learned I can live on very little and that I already have more than enough in my home to keep me content for years to come.
In the 100 days I’ve watched more than 50 documentaries and movies based on true stories and learned that my love of learning about people, places and things is stronger than ever. I’ve read three non-fiction books and the entire Old Testament of the Bible so far and look forward to what’s coming next. I’ve challenged myself to do new things, including building a LEGO world without Alzheimer’s, raising $3,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association fundraiser and learning new LEGO building techniques in the process.
The last eight weeks of my 100 days alone have been the hardest. The resurgence of COVID as cities have begun reopening have also brought new fears to my mind. But it’s the current racial unrest in this country that has brought me to tears day after day since the killing of George Floyd and many other Black victims. It’s been hard to sleep and think of much other than race relations (or lack thereof) during the early violence and the continuing protests and on some days I’ve felt completely overwhelmed. I have lots of faith, but it’s difficult find hope in the current state of this country on most days. I wonder and try not to worry about what will happen next. I hope that earnest dialogue on race in the US will occur and that true change can begin, but I feel that may just be wishful thinking.
Even with the current unrest, at the end of my first 100 days of being locked down alone, I believe that I am a wiser, smarter, stronger, and even more faithful person. I am thankful for my family, friends and for my relationship with God, all of which remind me that even though I live alone, I am never really alone.
I love reading about your life, Loretta. I’ve known how you love climbing into Joy and heading off to gather with friends and explore new places and sights. And I know how you love going out to speak to groups about your experience with Alzheimer’s caregiving, spreading encouragement and love with your audiences. And now I learn that you have discovered the joy of being at home, alone, reading, writing, creating, thinking, learning about who you are and what you are about when there is solitude and quiet all around you. Not surprisingly, you have filled your space and your time alone with your own wonder. No wonder you have discovered joy and peace and that you and God together make wonderful companionship. I’m not surprised, but I am delighted by what you have learned.
I’m so glad you got to visit your mom in person, even at a distance. I’ll bet it was hard to know who was more thrilled with the reunion. The pictures of the two of you are great.
You are close in my heart as we all try to deal with everything that has flowed from the murder of George Floyd. I think this time was bound to come. The pressure from the police and vigilante violence and the lack of real justice for Black people and others in our society through so many years just could not keep building. I pray that we Americans can finally open our eyes and see what so many primarily white people have refused to see for so long. I hope we will wholeheartedly demand that things change for our non-white brothers and sisters, that we commit to stand and to kneel with those who are burdened and oppressed by policies, traditions, and attitudes that have damaged, hurt, imprisoned, and killed far too many people. It’s a terribly hard time, but somewhere in all this, I do think there’s some hope. I am not willing to settle for things the way they were any longer, and I am dearly hoping many millions of other people are feeling the same. I think this may be our last chance to get it right.
With lots of love to you, dear Sister,
Thank you so much my friend!! I too am thrilled with how much I have learned about myself!! It’s been a really journey and one I’m most happy with!! AND there is more learning to be done!! When the Pandemic arrived Rosetta Stone and other language companies started a lifetime subscription for languages so I’m finally learning Spanish!! I’m on lesson 4 already!!
I too believe there is much hope coming!! As you say, soooooo many people are dong with accepting how things are!!! That is thrilling for me!! I can’t wait to participate in these very difficult conversations!
Stay tuned for more lessons in the future!! Can believe I survived 100 days alone…. but it was a necessary adventure and I’m glad I am recording it for posterity!
Much love to you!! And thanks for being along on the journey!!
Brava and olé to you for learning Spanish!!!! As an old foreign language teacher, it warms my heart to hear it! We’d be a different and better country if more people had learned and spoke a second (or third, or….. ) language.
Loretta, I am so happy you got to see your Mom in person — I am still waiting for that opportunity with my mother. I love reading about your life, how you have discovered new aspects of who you are and how you are living into isolation!
I forgot to say I’ll be praying that the visit with your Mom will come soon!!! What a tough time this had been and it’s not even close to being over unfortunately!
Hang in there my friend!!
Thank you so much Julie!!! I’m enjoying this journey and look forward to all of the other things I will learn!! !00 days is a long time and I’m so glad I have my journal to look back on!