Sunday, April 12, 2020

UNPRECEDENTED

When my daughter Elizabeth and I were talking a few days ago, she was saying how much she wished my husband were still alive because she thought he could give us some insight into the pandemic, how to live with the shelter in place requirements, and of course they could both discuss the scientific aspects of the coronavirus.  I opined that he would be keeping up with the constantly breaking news and that I wouldn't have to spend much time finding out what was going on, because he could give me a summary every night.  
He was a news hound, and had worked on the Harvard radio station, WHRB, when he was there. It was also where he began to appreciate classical music as well as learned the pronunciations of every composer from countries where everyone had tongue-twisting names to an English speaker. When we went on our honeymoon to the Lake of the Ozarks (long before Branson had been discovered), I wasn't surprised that before we went to dinner each night, he had to check the news. After all, we were in the middle of the Watergate hearings!
As I think of how the landscape of the world has changed and emptied in such a short time, I often think that he would use such words as "unprecedented," he would probably have surprising insights into the pandemic and how it has affected all of us, and probably some predictions of the future direction of the virus, the attempts to create a vaccine, and whether life will ever return to "normal."  Somehow, his interest in knowing, his intelligent approach to almost every subject, and his way of explaining things made even frightening things less so.
Of course, some of what can make things seem frightening to me is just the fact that I am often alone.  This Easter is the first time in my life I have ever been alone on Easter, and I suspect there are many people who are alone for the first time.  Usually my daughter Mary and her family are here; they would come on Good Friday or Holy Saturday to dye eggs, we'd get the Easter baskets out and set them out in my bedroom before I put them out for the Easter bunny to fill.  Recently my son would help with the Easter bunny's task, and last year we had a Jewish friend and a Buddhist friend who came to the Easter Mass with us, where I was playing, and then came back to the house so they could see what an Easter egg hunt was like!
This year we might have had to have the egg hunt inside since rain was predicted and it looked relatively gloomy, but there was no egg hunt at my house; it had been transferred to my daughter's, and she came to pick up all the Easter paraphernalia a week ago along with her daughter's birthday present.  I watched her open it at the end of the front walk. My sister-in-law mentioned that she had had a similar activity with one of her grandchildren.
Instead, I had a Zoom call at noon with all five of my daughters and almost all the grandchildren, except for two little ones who were asleep.  It was a lively call, and wonderful to see them all, most of whom were all dressed up even though of course they couldn't go to Mass.  It is a strange and dislocating time, but I am so thankful for the internet and Zoom which have enabled me to stay in touch with family and friends even when I am locked down in my home--and I am thankful for a warm home, the dusky fragrance of Mirandy roses, the intoxicating scent of orange blossoms and the fresh oranges I can pick from my own tree.  For these small blessings, and the greatest blessing of the Resurrection, I am truly grateful. As my husband said every Easter morning, "Resurrexit sicut dixit."

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