By Annette Martin Collins
As I sit in my bedroom, I am remembering life as it once was. Not long ago I was actively engaged in all the activities many of us octogenarians were doing. The Shepherd’s Center in town offered so many classes and groups in which we could belong. I could hop into my car and drive to the center where I would meet my new friends and enjoy the comrodery of like minds. Church was a Sunday morning must but first came bible study. This was another set of friends. Once a month we gathered for breakfast and a sing-a-long before church in the fellowship hall.
Who knew that our world would change as of January of 2020. That was when a new virus originated in Wuhan, China. Silently this killer struck down people on the other side of our world and the news trickled out slowly. Our President announced it on the evening news and commented it was no big deal. Not to worry.
By March, the virus had reached our shores and settled in the state of Washington, where six people in a nursing home died. Our President said “We have it under control. It will blow over and be gone before long.” Passing the responsibility of our well being on to the Governors of each state rather than taking charge to subdue this deadly threat was a mistake. The Governors were not unified in their reactions and each handled the situation in their own way. Some not taking the threat seriously, as the President kept voicing his opinion that the virus would disappear as quickly as it began. Not to worry.
I am a survivor. I survived eighty plus years using the common sense given me by my creator and surely He will get me through what is now called a pandemic. As of March we were told to stay in our houses, do not congregate in groups, wear masks, and stay off the roads as much as possible, churches closed down, stores were closed, businesses were closed, and all the things deemed “not necessary” no longer open. Gyms, beauty parlors, night clubs and bars were considered places where the virus could spread. I paid attention and stayed home.
I am one of the lucky ones. Being home was not isolation for me, as I live with my two daughters. One still working in the emergency room of a local hospital and the other, a former truck driver, home on medical leave from her work. I am not alone. We have three dogs and two cats. They are family too. My room becomes my headquarters where I send out cards to people with messages of encouragement. After all, we are all in this situation together. Everything is changing. The news alerts us people are dying all over the United States, more than any other country. I have COPD so I know to stay away from people. I use my computer a lot to check my email. I was not quick enough to realize I opened something that I should not have. There are crooked people out there just waiting for the opportunity to scam us old people who are not as computer smart as they are. Well, it happened. I was scammed and it hurt. My daughter had to accompany me to the bank on three occasions to get the mess straightened out. I was crushed, and for two weeks refused to talk to anyone. I felt so stupid and old.
I decided that since I am not as quick witted as I once was, it was time for me to give over the responsibility of my finances to my girls. Still looking for things to occupy my hours I take to crocheting. I gathered up all the scrap yarn and created a huge ball of crocheted yarn which I said represented the world. The colors were all the people of the world. I used a little bit of it to cover two of my canes I use for walking. They are so pretty, with wooden beads dangling from the top, and I hardly ever go out to show them off!
My bones are getting cranky. My joints hurt. Getting into a car is a challenge. I am thinking about giving up driving as I am that old lady driving 35 mph in a 45 mph zone. Highway driving terrifies me, but only if I am driving. I do not drive in the rain. I stay home and watch CNN. I once loved that station as it was so informative and current. Now every day it is negative, reminding me of the fairy tale “The Sky is Falling!” I feel safe in my room.
It is a treat going on an outing to Wal Mart with my daughters. Two of our dogs are as old as I (in dog years) and they seem to have decided to keep me in their sight every moment of our days. Benji is a grouchy little cock-a-poo who has taken up residence under my bed. I call him my under-bed gremlin. He growls whenever Sam, a big black lab, enters my (oh, excuse me, OUR) room. I sit in my big brown comfy chair in the corner of the room and daydream on how the future generations will live. Because of the climate changes we will need to have electric cars, some driverless, as smart computers will take over many things. I create a new world in my head.
It is predicted things will get worse before they get better. Back in February, I thought about leaving my daughters something to remember me by, just in case. Having written poetry and stories as a hobby for fifty years, I chose a few and had them bound into a book dedicated to my daughters. It was published at the end of March by Amazon. I feel my work here is finished and I will relax and enjoy my room and my chair and my dogs who watch over me as I watch over them. I will survive for as long as God allows. I know my memory will live on within the pages of my book. It is finished.