by Gloria Halligan, 05/11/2020, Traverse City, MI

Adult Category

“One of life’s contradictions: how human beings were at once entirely resilient and impossibly fragile.”
Taken from “Saints for All Occasions” J. Cortney Sullivan

This is how I feel.

It took me a while to accept my duty in contributing toward staying “safe”. Thanks to my daughter, I returned to Traverse City from Lake Havasu, AZ, ten days earlier than I had planned. Receiving a call from Jill that advised me I was coming home sooner than my plane ticket listed, I received information that showed me my new plane reservation to get me back home. Arriving those few days early on Saturday night, my Jack’s family picked me up and took me home to a house stocked with groceries and the heat and lights on. That Monday I quickly got appointments for my hair and my nails. I also shopped at Meijer, Bed & Bath, Staples, Costco, and Home Goods stores. By the next Monday, the hair and nail salons were shut down.

My kids were trying to convince me that I should be settling in, not running around. But I had an appointment at the Census office in the Mall that next week for fingerprinting. Of course, while there I also went to Target and TJ Maxx. By the end of that second week TJ’s was closed and the Census office was moving out. My food pantry was full as I hoped that I would still be having the families for Easter and even in-between.

That is when I began to accept the seriousness of what was happening. It also was the time I realized that my kids and grandkids could lose everything because they were protecting the “vulnerable” like me at age 75. My running around was done.

The life I have been living means that I do not get to see the grand girls once a week after school. It means I don’t hop in the car and drive downstate to see the other grands. It means I do not go over to friends’ houses to gab or go out for lunch. The church services are now on line. My writer’s series tickets have been returned. My attempt to try the 5K with my son at the Cherry Festival is cancelled.

Since I live alone, my life is otherwise not so different. Quiet, sleeping in, heavy with TV, feeding yard birds, washing hair every 3-4 days, some take-out, church (virtual now) on Saturday, few outdoor walks with social distancing. What if my rut lasts after this is over when no one will want to hire the “vulnerable” as a worker or volunteer? I was scheduled to lead short hikes through NMC, but those cannot be put on line, so no planned work and the Census is put on hold. Hopefully I have the gumption to do more with my church. Maybe I could lead hikes once again by myself.

This almost total down time does emphasize what I did not ask of my grandparents, parents, mother-in-law, and, I hate to admit it, my husband – those personal questions that tell “their stories” never shared – their childhood, their education, their parents, the Depression, the alcoholism, the untimely deaths, WWI, WWII, pregnancies, births and losses, poverty, , illnesses, survival – not only the individual histories, but those emotions of life’s difficulties and triumphs that tell the stories.

Motivation for me always has been a problem. Even being successful in my work I would put off until the last minute my training presentations and paperwork. I have been in fairly good shape through the years, but have now gained 14 lbs. that I cannot stand, but I also am not willing to give my sweets and the exercise I usually did regularly did through the YMCA is now a chore. I have to plan my exercise the day before or I do not do it. That is why I just signed up to walk 100 miles in 31 days. So far the first 3 days I have walked 11 miles. Wonder if I will meet this challenge. I still could sort my pictures and clean my basement. I could try to write some of my untold life experiences (not revered for now, but maybe someday). Already my house needs re-cleaned and two books are just sitting and Facebook has been neglected for two weeks again – why – Because I have all this time!!

I do have HOPE. I have invited my family over for August and ordered $80 of Easter chocolate from Alpine Chocolat Haus to surprise the grandkids when we do this.