What Coronavirus Can‘t Take Away

Posted on March 16, 2020


Like most people, I had a pretty strong reaction to the advent of the Coronavirus pandemic. While it didn’t include the need to amass vast amounts of food and paper goods, it did include fear. I’m in the high-risk category, so my fear didn’t surprise me. While I didn’t go to freak out mode, I did take things pretty seriously.

After the initial shock, I had a lot of time to add a second reaction: loss. I was losing my carefully constructed life: the trips I had planned, the social events on my calendar, my volunteer teaching, and a scheduled outpatient surgery. Most important, I was losing the ability to see my grandchildren, face-to-beautiful face.

A phone conversation with my daughter set me on a different track. She now has three young boys at home and, with schools closed, play dates gone, and few places to take the boys to occupy their time, her world changed dramatically. Instead of fretting, it caused her to go into action. She would create a homeschooling plan, one that would call upon all of the boy’s grandparents to teach video lessons to them in subjects that were within their areas of strength and expertise.

I told her that a great difficulty for me was to lose the ability to travel to see my grandchildren. She challenged me to come up with creative ways to make my Facetime visits with them meaningful and unique.

The conversation with her took me back to the time when she and my son-in-law lived in London and gave birth to their first child. After imploding over the fact that my first grandchild was now an ocean away, I changed course. I started a regular series of Skype visits in which I read books to him, in the same way I would if we were together. Those book-reading sessions turned out to be precious for both of us.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that a lot of things were still in my control.

I will donate to groups who are committed to providing food to kids who will have no food now that schools are closed. I will make purchases online from small, local businesses that will be challenged in ways that the retail giants never will be. I will put even more time into volunteer coaching people online. And I will continue to research other possibilities.

I will certainly start planning the screen times with my grandchildren. I am committed to doing more than tell them I love them and ask how they are. I always tell them I love them and will continue. I know that their worlds have changed as much as mine. Now it’s time to create something new.

I’ll share my progress with you. Onward.

Posted in: illness