Menu Donate Now

Reflections on COVID-19

Posted on

By Cindy Tate, JONAH Board Member from Unitarian Universalist Congregation

The Kindergarten boy misses his friends, and especially misses the day he got to go to the library. Now he is writing and illustrating his own books and newspapers. But he still misses his friends. He did get to see a photo of them all online.

His third grade sister wants to be home-schooled from now on. She is re-reading books at home, but has already written and illustrated eight books of her own. She also makes her own newspapers, using photos cut from old Volume Ones. She does miss making films at school. She says, “If we get to go to school next year. . . “

We all used to find recipes we wanted to cook and then went to the store to buy the needed ingredients. Now we are looking for recipes that we can make with the ingredients we have at home.

I used to automatically pick up litter on my daily walks. Now I look at the plastic candy wraps and white papers that help straws and I let them lie there, afraid they just may contain the coronavirus.

A dad is with his two young boys are beyond the backyard – in the “Hundred Acre Woods”. They are making a fort, which would not be made at any other time because the dad would usually be at work a two-o’clock in the afternoon. The boys are having the time of their lives. The dad is, too.

I don’t feel safe going to the laundromat at this time, so I wash laundry by hand at home. I wash a small amount each day, and dry them overnight on towel racks. When the warmer weather comes I may set up a clothesline outside. I am glad there is just one person to do laundry for in this way. 

People everywhere are getting in touch with other people for emotional support and to see if each other is safe and well. My best friend from high school connected with me on Facebook. She lives in California. An old boyfriend from eons ago, who now lives in Virginia, sent a message to everyone he knows. It reads, “I am sorry to anyone I may have hurt and I forgive anyone who may have hurt me”. He goes on, through his life, saying things you would say if you thought you might die.

She is pregnant and due early June. She’s had two births before, but this one is different – it’s during COVID-19 time. Her husband was with her for the other births, in a hospital Hospitals won’t allow husbands in the birthing area now, and she wants him there with her. Luckily, she found a midwife this late in the pregnancy, The midwife will bring an assistant, but they live twenty-five miles away. So she is still anxious, especially because each birth is different and you never know what to expect. The father will be with her. He thinks it will be a good learning experience for the six- and nine-year-old siblings.

Went for a drive to Irving Park and Glen Lock in Chippewa Falls. Thought I would be the only one there on a Tuesday afternoon. It was flocked with many people – almost too many for safety.

A small boy on a bike with training wheels drives on a quiet residential street in Shore View, Minnesota. It’s his first bike and he is in his glory. Alone with the wind.

People are conversing more than ever before, it seems. Days are spent on phone calls from long-lost cousins and brothers rarely heard from. It’s hard to keep up with the emails! 

People are also keeping everyone’s spirits up through music, prose and poetry. People exercise and dance with others virtually. People are also putting hearts in front windows as a symbol of thanks to all the many heroic people working on the “front lines”.

He says at first he thought this would last just a couple of weeks. Now he wonders if it will last forever. His boss’s mother’s friend died and they all sounded terrified at the end of her life. They had to do everything virtually. 

A schoolgirl said she misses not being able to go to her friend’s houses to visit. She also will miss having fun at the end of the school year carnival. But she admits that every day she is finding creative things to do at home and outside. 

Her son comes to visit. They stand between each side of the glass front door, smile and talk. Before he leaves they each smile an put a hand on the glass – just like they do in prison.

Her sister has sent her a package in the mail – masks that are hand-made by her sister in Illinois. They are attractive, well-made masks. Among them are small cute, small ones, with cat and dog prints, for the children in the family. She will send back to her sister a package containing shoestrings and felt. The shoestrings are to be used as mask ties and the felt is used as a vent inside the masks. Her sister asked her for these and intends to continue making masks for people. 

An art student at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire is due to graduate in May. She was not able to make her last ceramic art project before COVID-19 started. Now no one is allowed in the art rooms except to remove your possessions. She is worried about what her grade will be without her last art project and hopes the professors will be generous considering the circumstances. She and other students are also worried about what kind of job they will get when they virtually graduate if they get a job at all.

. . . it’s like we are sitting by on a standing situation and not knowing what to do about it.”

“It’s like our lives are put on stand-still. We all question what we should do We don’t know if we will have a job when we come out of this.”

“Maybe we should just do nothing and let nature take it’s course. I know some people will die, but that is what nature is trying to tell us – there isn’t room on this earth for all of us. Then those who are left can figure out how to take care of the earth.”

“We were pursuing an offer to buy a house right before Coronavirus started here. The Coronavirus helped us not make a bad decision. I’m glad we kept our place here in the country because, being Spring, we can see the value of our outdoor spaces. And this would be a bad time to be getting into a debt we may not be able to pay.”

Walking around in the nearby cemetery gives me time to wonder if any of these graves represent people who died during the 1918 Spanish influenza, and will there be any from this COVID-19?

He says his job is setting the tone for him. He is in a dilemma. His boss wants him to work, and his wife wants him to stay home because she is pregnant, and if he is out “there” he could infect her and the baby. Sometimes he works and sometimes he stays home. His boss did get the small business loan, but he still needs to keep his labor force working so he has money coming in. Also he doesn’t want to lose his customers. Though this young man feels caught between his boss and his wife, he feels fortunate because he has some savings put aside, and he is receiving a full salary. But he is anxious about the future. 

A newly-wed couple moved from Eau Claire to Madison for better jobs. About eight months later Coronavirus came along. The couple decided to move back home to live with her parents because at that time most of the first people being affected lived in Dane County – right in Madison. The young man could continue to work his this job from home. Her job was done as a substitute teacher, so she would help out as she could. They will move back to Madison when it is safe. 

He works for Our Wisconsin Revolution. He is an organizer in the northwestern area of Wisconsin. By mid-March he had noticed that people were acting dramatically different.

He says that people didn’t want to take literature. They were less personal. They didn’t want to rely on the phone, texts or emails. They didn’t know where their next meal or next dollar were going to come from. They just worried about survival. He wanted to help them, but he couldn’t help them with money. He could only help them emotionally. He said this is political for him. He wonders why we were not prepared as a nation for this, and why the medical system is in collapse. He doesn’t want to just blame, but hopes this country learns from this and doesn’t make the same mistakes again. He says that this COVID-19 impacts everyone. It is an equalizer because we are all human; we are all family. 

“Hope is a vessel that needs to be filled” he says. He says that how we will survive is when we all recognize that we have to help each other. At the end is the hope for World Peace. He believes that God made this planet, and that we can learn to work together if we do the right thing. 

She had sent her out-of-state children Easter cards and presents and wondered if she would ever see them again. 

The Coronavirus has not affected everything – it didn’t stop young love. I got a phone call from one of my granddaughters today. She told me her boyfriend had proposed to her and she accepted. Okay, maybe the virus did affect the planned wedding date – two years from this coming June. By then people may be able to be together again. It also gives them lots of time to plan the event. And it certainly did give a lot of people something to look forward to!