In my life, I’ve noticed how the worst possible circumstances can bring about both good and bad changes. When Jim developed dementia, I could only see doom and gloom once I learned how the story was going to end. My heart was broken, and I believed my soul was broken too. I’d always taken for granted that we’d grow old together, and that was swept aside with the tidal wave of disease.
We still had some good times. Although the disease was progressive, we made the most of the time we had when Jim was in the early stages. We traveled, we spent time with family, and life went on as usual for a few years with only the occasional glitch.
Jim’s disease motivated me to become a different person. I became an active volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association and discovered my mission in life. I found an inner strength that I never suspected existed. It was as if I pushed reset and rebooted my life.
Our world has become an unusual place as a deadly virus forced us to take a pause. Once again, things that we took for granted—going to conferences, concerts, buying everything we needed at the grocery store, going on vacation, hugging friends and family—disappeared like the smog that clouded our cities.
Life is not normal now. I’ve not spent this much time at home since I was a kid and lived twenty miles from nowhere. As they say, life is what happens while we are making plans. I’ve lost track of how many events have been cancelled. The Alzheimer’s Forum in DC was the biggy, but countless other meetings, shopping excursions, girl’s days with my mom and sisters, music practice/programs, and eating out cancelled. Life as I have grown to know it, paused.
The pandemic has taught us several lessons:
1) Our health care system needs to be overhauled. Doctors and nurses should not die for a lack of PPE.
2) We have to depend on each other to not spread the virus. We must do whatever it takes—social distancing, washing our hands, or simply staying home.
3) People learned the value of home cooking, and without the busy schedules, families gather around the dinner table.
4) Parents discovered the real value of teachers.
5) People have learned creative ways to celebrate and to mourn.
6) The pandemic brought out the best in people—sewing masks, designing and producing face shields, picking up groceries for their neighbors, and showing kindness.
7) The pandemic has brought out the worst in people—hoarding toilet paper (of all things!), throwing their gloves on the ground, blaming others for the virus, ignoring safety measures, and being selfish.
With a drastic change in lifestyle, the earth is healing. The air is cleaner and the earth is rumbling less. (I didn’t know rumbling was a thing!) We’ve found out that our lives were cluttered with things we never needed. Most of us have seen the world around us, and family life in a way that we’ve never seen them before.
Of course, the economic impact is devastating, and people long for life to get back to normal. Lives have been lost to the pandemic, and lives have been saved due to cleaner air, less traffic, and slowing down seasonal flu.
We’ve taken a step back, and after our “pause” our “normal” will be a new normal. It is as if God pushed the reset button.
Copyright © April 2020 by L.S. Fisher