My life is usually so busy that my calendar can have as many as three events on the same day. I toss so many balls into the air that occasionally one smacks me on top of my head.
Lately, meetings and events have been scheduled, and cancelled. My calendar was covered with so many changes, delays, and rescheduled events, that I finally gave up and bought a dry erase board. It’s been handy for changes, because I can just erase a date, or time, and write in the new info.
Sometimes, I don’t feel like I’m in Missouri anymore, but have entered a strange world where everything is just a half bubble out of plumb. Each day brings changes: social distancing, sheltering in place, self-quarantine, businesses closing, and the stock market changing at warp speed.
After the Alzheimer’s forum was cancelled, I thought I’d be able to go with the family band to play at the nursing homes. The first home cancelled because of the flu. Shortly after our first practice, all nursing homes were on lockdown—no visitors or volunteers.
I can’t help but think how stressful it would have been for me if I hadn’t been able to see Jim when he was in long-term care. When anyone asked me why I did things for him that the nursing home should have been doing, I had to admit that it was for my own peace of mind. It helped me to know that he was fed, dry, and clean.
Jim was like a part of me. He became dependent on me to see about his well-being. When he could no longer remember our life together, his memories lived with mine in my heart.
Looking back I see how crazy it was for us to get married when we did. Jim had to finish his tour in Vietnam. Then, he was stationed at Ft. Riley for a year. We lived in Manhattan, Kansas, in a one-room apartment. Yes, one room, not one bedroom. We had no air-conditioning and it must have been one of the hottest summers in history. Before Eric was born, we moved to a bigger apartment in the same house.
The point I’m getting at is that we barely had enough money to live on. We paid our rent and utilities and carefully shopped for a month’s worth of groceries. After Jim got out of the service, we lived below the poverty level until I went to work at the Rural Electric Cooperative ten years later.
We went through some hard times, but we always managed to have money in a savings account for even harder times. Jim could keep any old car running and he could fix anything. If the washing machine broke down, no problem. We had family, we had love, and that’s what makes a person’s heart wealthy.
So yeah, a lot of people are going to face some tough times. My 401k is taking a major hit right now, but just like the last recession—if worse comes to worse, I’m not afraid. I’ve been poor before and living through that time is what makes me, me.
The economy doesn’t scare me for myself. I do worry about those who have never known how to budget, how to wear the same clothes and shoes for several years, or how to plan a healthy meal with limited funds. I hurt for the kids who depended on school for their only meals.
I hope that we work together as decent human beings to change the trajectory of this virus. When we come out on the other side, more people are going to learn that hard times make us stronger. When life, as well as our calendars, is decluttered, we will rediscover the worth of simpler times.
Copyright © March 2020 by L.S. Fisher