All Of Us Together (Even If Apart)

This may be the most difficult year in our lives. It is hard to stay upbeat. Yet we must all remind ourselves that despite our concerns and fears – particularly about our families’ and friends’ health (especially our elders) and also about our finances and jobs – that this will get better.

I did get an unexpected – and much needed and appreciated – small ego boost this morning: my wife told me a girlfriend messaged her last night that she had just finished Conventions and really enjoyed it. My agent wife said to me she replied telling her there is now a follow up. Her friend messaged back that she didn’t know that and would buy that one today: she hoped it would help her get her mind a little off of where we all are.

Indeed, we all feel much the same. Probably like you, we are staying in as much as possible. We have been watching whatever is pleasant:

[From my Instagram Stories.]

I have also found myself (re)watching old sports:

[From my Instagram Stories.]

And I have been doing lots of reading:

[From my Instagram Stories.]

Despite all of the Twitter #writingcommunity calls I see that we should all WRITE THAT NOVEL AT LAST, I have not been writing much because we have been staying with my mother-in-law here in London (about 45 minutes from our Potton house) since Monday. You may know that my father-in-law died unexpectedly on March 16 for reasons apparently unrelated to the virus. So we will be here for weeks to come because she does not want to be alone in the house, and right now I just can’t motivate myself to work on the planned new novel.

In dealing with the ramifications of his death, we have been forced to be busy – even if only indoors most of the time. Often the virus is the furthest thing from our minds. Yet we have been hoping also to keep drop in visitors offering condolences to a minimum – as my mother-in-law is 88 and if she catches this f-ckin’ illness she will almost certainly die. Thankfully it seems some get that, but some are also clearly morons who are not only putting us in danger, but especially her – and we cannot really make demands of visitors to her house… and despite our best efforts to impress on her what is going on “out there,” in her grief this virus is to her personally inconsequential.

So we have had great stresses from that direction. That is us. Everyone is in a different personal situation.

[Seen on Instagram Stories.]

When that popped up in my Instagram Stories last weekend, it really bothered me. We have mutually followed each other for some time and we have laughs now and then. Her husband is a doctor in Paris.

Usually her Instagram is pleasant and fun; but there, I thought, was a TOTALLY different side of her as a person. She had never posted a Story like that. Unable LEGALLY even to step outside in France currently without a VERY GOOD reason, she had been mostly alone in their flat for several days.

She wished suggestions for activities she could do without other people. I felt I had to say something, so I responded. I urged her first of all to ring family and friends and to use Facetime to diminish some of her sense of isolation. (“Faire du yoga” was another – lighthearted – activity suggestion I offered.)

[From my Instagram messages.]

With her writing back also that she is so worried about herself and everyone out there, we messaged back and forth several times and finished there. I was glad I had not just let that Story go without responding to it. We will all have bad moments in weeks and months to come and those who reach out through social media should not receive silence in response: Watch your timelines and try to be supportive.

No one is an island, and suddenly many of us feel like castaways: marooned and alone. These are difficult times especially for those who are more extroverted and thrive off of in-person contact with others. We have to be cognizant of that.

This will not last forever. We are living an historical moment that will be much written of and discussed for decades to come. We need to keep our heads about us and realize it will come right in the end… and (amidst predictions that this confinement will cause a “baby boom” to follow… as well as an uptick in divorces. LOL!) we can then tell the next generation about how we survived 2020.

Let’s all try to have a good weekend, wherever we are. 🙂

4 thoughts on “All Of Us Together (Even If Apart)

  1. I so agree, Robert. It’s important to remember how many people have it worse than we do. There are terrible stories from other countries of fines and even punishments for those breaking isolation and curfew laws. It certainly makes me feel grateful, but we need those reminders, so thank you for that. I’m feeling heartbroken for your MIL. What a terrible thing. So fortunate you and your wife can be there for her.

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