During the first few weeks of the sheltering in place in mid March, I felt rootless and depressed. All of my normal activities had suddenly disappeared. No tennis, no exercise class, no visits with friends, no volunteer teaching, no singing with our community chorus. Suddenly my husband and I were stuck in our little cocoon, anxious about doing even the basics, like going out to buy groceries. It was too easy to forget what time or day it was with no schedule to follow. One day was exactly like the next. I felt grateful to be well , but suddenly all too far away from my kids in San Francisco and LA. Visiting with them had always been easy; now it was fraught with problems. They couldn’t fly or take the train. Even the long drive would be a problem with no public restrooms or restaurants open. The longer this went on, the more anxious and depressed I felt.
In this anxious and blue state of mind, I stepped outside to get the morning paper. There , carefully placed , was a little rock with a heart painted on it. I had no idea which little child in the neighborhood had done this sweet thing, but it completely lifted my mood and touched me deeply.
Weeks later, I found out it was the little girl across the street, whose name, appropriately, is Valentina! I wrote her a warm thank you note and put it in her mailbox. Her mom later told me it was the first letter she had ever received, and had thrilled her.
Here is a photo of the little rock.
Several weeks later, we were introduced to Zoom , which immediately changed our lives. Suddenly, my normal activities could take place. Exercise class and volunteer work were on Zoom, and I could even visit , virtually, with friends and our kids. That made a huge difference. I could have a schedule, feel more oriented about what time and day it was, and most important, feel less isolated and more active. In fact, visiting with relatives other states, and friends around the world, was actually more possible, since the pandemic was worldwide, and thus, everyone was at home all the time!
By June, I gradually have adjusted, become less fearful, more comfortable about going to the store. My computer skills have improved as I spend more time on Zoom and on email . We get out and hike daily, and have discovered some lovely rural neighborhoods to walk in where we see tall trees and hear a babbling stream . I have really enjoyed my garden and have really closely observed the trees budding and blooming in all their detail. A hummingbird built a nest in our yard, right outside our window, and we can watch her drink from our fuscia tree and feed her babies.
We regularly have dinner with our laptop across from us on the table, and have dinner conversations while Zooming with friends far and near, giving each other a virtual toast with our wine glasses !
And now, it is June, and our tennis courts have just opened up to play! I am back playing with some friends in person, and the pace of life is picking up . As seniors in our 60’s and 70’s, we are being cautious and careful, each handling only our own balls. We use hand sanitizer and drink only from our own water bottles. We try not to get too close to each other ( but sometimes forget ). But what fun, to be together in person! I am hoping this can keep improving, and at this point feel optimistic . Our friends are beginning to gather for “social distancing visits ” . We have seen and hugged our son. Life is gradually returning to a semblance of normal.
Submitted by Lois Kalafus, Santa Clara County – Los Gatos.