Sunday, January 31, 2021

Upside Down

I think maybe the best way to describe how my world has been for the last twelve months is “upside down.” I’ve told people jokingly that I think my brain has turned to mush. I can’t seem to keep the days, or sometimes months, straight anymore. I routinely misplace my to-do list and wander about the house trying to remember what important tasks I needed to do.

A few days ago, Harold was talking to me, the dog was checking out the floor, and I was putting on my socks. Harold made that “ah,ah,ah” noise like you do when someone is doing something wrong. I looked at the dog fully expecting her to be trying to eat an un-eatable object.


“You are putting a sock over a sock,” he said. Sure enough, I had one bare foot and one with two socks. That’s typical for the way things have been going lately.


Upside down meant we could no longer play music at the nursing homes, but it also meant that I became brave enough, or foolhardy enough, to post videos of “Linda and her uke” online. I would never have considered such a thing before the pandemic.


We’ve had a year of living Murphy’s law…if it could go wrong, it would go wrong. Right now most of our basement, including my office, is upside down. That should start being righted when the flooring crew shows up later this week.


My body feels upside down. After a few months reprieve from the arthritic pain, I’m having a major flare up, when I need to be physically active righting my office.


It seems that every so often we have to go through these times of upheaval. I crave peace and the days when tragedy stuck only occasionally. I’m being worn slick by chaos and death. People I loved died, and I couldn’t go to their funerals, but more often services were postponed until later, meaning when the pandemic is under control.


I seldom go to town, but during the past week, I’ve gone twice. The first time I went to town was to get the Pfizer vaccine for Covid-19. I’ve never been so excited to get a shot in my life.


Saturday, I had to go to town in the pouring rain. I was amazed at the heavy traffic and the number of cars at restaurants. Life was going on, as if there were no tomorrow, or pandemic.


I’ve lived through upside down times before. For ten years I watched Jim change from an intelligent, loving husband who loved to sing and play his guitar, to a silent man who depended on others to provide the most basic care. After he passed away, when I left work and headed toward home instead of the nursing home, I felt the emptiness and loss wash over me in waves of pain. It took time, lots of time, for life to seem normal again.


The thing about upside down is it forces an entirely different perspective. My mom and I were talking about how life has so drastically changed during the pandemic. “I think people will never go back to doing all the things they did before,” she said, “but it would be nice to go into the store and buy my own groceries.”


I agree. I don’t think I’ll ever fill my life with so much outside activities again. There have been distinct advantages to spending so much time at home. I’ve already filled spaces with other work and hobbies. I’ve had time to think about what I’ve missed the most—spending time with friends and family.


The past twelve months brought a multitude of changes, and change hasn’t always been bad. In fact, creative solutions are often better than the “way we always did it.” For example, the drive-thru Cooperative Annual Meeting was a favorite of mine. We heard all the pertinent information through the car radio, voted for by-law amendments and directors, picked up our door prize (credit on the electric bill) and were done in record time.


The “walk everywhere” Walk to End Alzheimer’s had its good points. As my friend WyAnn said, “We don’t have to get up before dawn to set up.” Also, we weren’t biting our nails over the weather. The downside was not seeing other walkers, or enjoying the atmosphere and excitement of working together toward our goal. Another downside, we weren’t able to raise as much. That was partly due to people going through hard times and not being able to have normal in person visits or normal fundraisers.


The exciting news is that we may be able to have an in person Walk to End Alzheimer’s this year. It will be more work and I’m not sure how I’ll fit that into my new schedule.


Maybe by fall (or sooner!) we can be right side up again and return to some of our pre-pandemic behavior. We’ve developed new skills and habits, so we can select only those activities that are meaningful to us. Lifestyles can be adjusted to embrace the best of both worlds.


Copyright © January 2021 by L.S. Fisher


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