The Difference in American Life due to COVID-19 Between March and April 2020 and November 2020: Pandemic Loss of Memories and Sharing Life Passage Events Brings Tears

Personal-Impact-of-COVID_Featured-ImageWhen the pandemic lockdown occurred March, 2020, I videotaped the three oldest grandchildren for them to save and look at their videos in ten years memorializing their lives during COVID-19.  We had a list of questions for them to answer, including how the pandemic lockdown had changed their lives.  The oldest grandchild, age seventeen, was put in charge of task of giving the videos to the family in ten years as who knows if I will be alive in ten years.  This did not bring tears.  It is just the reality of living.

In the April 8, 2020 post, “What Will Our Grandchildren Remember About Living Through The Coronavirus Pandemic COVID-19 and How To Memorialize their Memories With Them and For Them,” I not only addressed how to save our grandchildren’s memories, I addressed then the memories I wanted to save to give them later as well.

In that April 8, 2020 post, I included a March 20, 2020 Pew Research Study, “Most Americans Say Coronavirus Outbreak Has Impacted Their Lives: More than half have prayed for an end to the virus’s spread,” to show how the coronavirus, COVID-19, impacted American lives.  Some of the key findings of the study included: most Americans said their personal life has been affected by the coronavirus outbreak; more than three-quarters of Americans say they are not comfortable eating out in a restaurant given the current situation with coronavirus; most working-age adults with at least a bachelor’s degree have worked from home as a result of the coronavirus outbreak; most adults with young children at home said it was easy for them to handle child care responsibilities. I wonder how this last finding might be different after seven months.

In addition, what I included in the April 8, 2020 post for my grandchildren to read in ten years are links to a March 16, 2020 Atlantic Magazine article of 36 photographs of life during the coronavirus era; a March 16, 2020 podcast interview of Dr. Michael Osterholm, an internationally recognized expert in infectious disease epidemiology (during which he first mentioned that the virus might be airborne!), a video on how to wipe down groceries before putting them away, Science Daily studies on social distancing, studies on why to wear a mask, and a compilation of studies on how long the coronavirus stays on surfaces, the toilet paper shortage, and how experts predict this era of coronavirus will change the world.  I wonder if this winter will bring another toilet paper shortage.  I know the findings seen months ago still apply today but maybe we do not have to be so careful using Lysol wipes on all our groceries.

In the April 29, 2020 post, “Passing Along Something Beautiful and Thought Provoking During the Coronavirus Pandemic,” the post after videotaping the grandchildren, I ended with an optimistic tone:

“Think of this.  What will we learn and experience about this time and the place we thought we know. . . .”

“I do not know whether or not what is happening is a spiritual wonder or just a pandemic overtaking and stopping those of us in this world at this moment, which we must overcome and survive.  As I explored with our precious grandchildren, let us think of this pandemic as an adventure, and ponder how to retain the beauty of nature, retain appreciation and gratitude for love and family and helping others in a united world, and for HOPE.”

SEVEN MONTHS LATER, LIFE IS DIFFERENT BECAUSE IT IS SO MUCH THE SAME AS MARCH AND APRIL, 2020.

My grandchildren and I have discussed how we are going to videotape again, how it is important to do so as the coronavirus, COVID-19, is now virulent and still impacting how all of us at every age are living our lives.  In the process of developing the outline of the list of questions is when tears came to my eyes.

We are getting ready for our second oldest grandson’s Bar Mitzvah, a life passage event during which family and friends gather to celebrate our grandson becoming a man in the eyes of Judaism.  Because of the coronavirus, we will all gather remotely via Zoom, not able to hug and kiss, dance and feast, and memorialize this sacred event for our grandson’s grandsons.

We have not seen four of our grandchildren in nine months.  We have not held them nor hugged them, or even social distancing visited, as they live in other states.  Two of the grandchildren are just two and a half now.  PopPop and I never went more than 6 weeks without seeing the older grandchildren when they were one and two years old.  Tears well up every time I realize that nine months have gone by without touching them.  Yes, we have FaceTime, but it is not the same. I know friends and friends of friends who have yet to hold or even be in the same state as their newborn grandchildren, and six month old grandchildren.

Thanksgiving is coming.  This will be the first Thanksgiving since our first grandchild was born seventeen years ago that the family will not be together.  It is not safe to travel to Florida, with its overwhelmingly high positivity rate. So many of us are having Zoom Thanksgivings. Tears come to my eyes.

The winter holidays are coming.  We are still keeping hope upon hope that it will be safe to travel then, but Dr. Fauci predicts a difficult winter.  Tears come to my eyes.

We, high risk, have self isolated since March 1.  We miss our family and friends.  We miss travel. We miss our life.  In our 70’s, we do not know when we can again resume our lives, or will be alive when that time comes.

I cannot imagine that it is only brain fog or coronavirus fatigue or some other new fangled term that is detrimentally impacting me now, having tears flow so easily.  I think it is the realization that it may be a year more before I can again resume my life, if I am lucky.  I keep hope that the greatest minds in the world are working to bring us an effective vaccine as soon as they safely can.  Yes, I wait for Dr. Fauci to say it is safe to take the vaccine.

Although I cannot now say it without tears, I still think of this.  What will we learn and experience about this time and the place we thought we know. . .

I do not know whether or not what is happening is a spiritual wonder or just a pandemic overtaking and stopping those of us in this world at this moment, which we must overcome and survive.  As I explored with our precious grandchildren, let us think of this pandemic as an adventure, and ponder how to retain the beauty of nature, retain appreciation and gratitude for love and family and helping others in a united world, and for HOPE with joy.

Enough tears.  Back to that list of questions for the next videotaping of our grandchildren, and making memories in any way we can.

This pandemic too will someday be over, or at least under control.  The adventure continues and, yes, we must continue to try, even seven months later, to retain appreciation and gratitude for love and family and helping others in a united world, and for HOPE with

 

Joy,

 

Mema

 

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