Today is the 45th day that my husband and I have been in our home, social distancing, leaving only for daily walks and trips to the grocery store every six or seven days. Just about every day, for a short period, I feel overwhelmed by my worries — worries unique to this crazy time of CoVid-19. I know that people around the country, the world, even, have far greater concerns than I do, but it is frustrating not to be able to fix the things I worry about. I want to solve problems, help out people, and of course, go to the library, but here I am at home, unable to give any hands-on help to anyone.
I worry a lot about my fragile parents, mostly because I have not seen them for so long — now going on two months. I know they are, for the present, safely ensconced in their assisted living community, a place that closed up, set up CoVid-19 prevention protocols, and limited access the moment the first patients were identified in Washington state. I talk on the phone with my parents every day, FaceTiming on Wednesdays, but phone calls without the visual support of FaceTime are less and less satisfying. My parents find it hard to hear, and my mom’s aphasia has worsened so phone calls are challenging. Not being able to help my parents in almost any way is, in itself, a heavy adult child caregiving burden.
I am worried about my daughter and her family. She and her husband now work from home, with on-again, off-again child care, living in a state that seems not to care much about CoVid-19. If I could just help out a bit with their challenges, I muse, but no, I cannot even figure out the mechanics of traveling the miles and miles to their home.
I worry about the health of friends and family members. Despite every precaution, we are taking I think about what could happen if I lose my husband, he loses me, or if one or both of my parents die before I can visit them again. I think about my friends, a good number of whom are social distancing in their homes by themselves. Other than checking in via email and phone, I feel powerless to help.
The lack of access to hair cuts, exercise gyms, stores, concerts, and museums — these are all minor irritations. I recognize how fortunate I am compared to many others, so I am doing what I can, making contributions to organizations that help others, making masks for friends and family, and purchasing meals from as many restaurant meals as I can to help them stay afloat.
So this my life — and the lives of many others — during social distancing and the CoVid-19 pandemic. Worrying is the new normal.