Clearly social distancing is a challenge for these guys. If you do not recognize this breed, they are Vizslas, otherwise know as velcro dogs. They want to be on you, next to you, smooshing you, and of course, crushing each other. I have oodles of pictures like this with humans in them as well, on the couches, on the floor, on chairs. The closer the better. Feels good doesn’t it? Until they keep competing for who can get closer and you end up with a foot in your face or unable to move.
I can’t really blame them. Being close feels good. We all need it. As we cross deeper into these uncertain times there are of course, so many things to Wonder about. I won’t list them here, your news feeds are full of them, it’s playing in the background on your TV, you inbox is jammed with coronavirus updates. You do not need me to tell you anything right now about that. (And what do I really know anyway?)
But there are other kinds of social distancing during crises that happen all the time. I can’t help but remember limiting Rachid’s visitors when he was dying, to help preserve his energy and our precious time. Our world got very small. But the family and friends that were with us were critical to our ability to cope. Not only did they bring prayers, smiles, good stories, hand holding, and lunch for me, they offered solidarity. I am with you. None of that would be able to happen now. So many people are going it alone under these new circumstances.
Social distancing is a way of life for too many. When depression hits, people social distance. When you have a chronic illness, you social distance. When your life falls into bits around you for a variety of reasons, there is social distancing. When you age and lose friends, there is social distancing. I am sure you can think of many other reasons as well. I know it is different than what is being asked of us now, but it might feel the same. When my jaw/mouth pain is at its worse I pick and choose who I can talk to. But I can still feel someone close.
For the many who are alone right now – grieving, sick with Corona or any illness, stuck in unhappy homes, isolated by distance, living through a war, separated by borders, divorcing, unable to combat the changes to a failing body, etc. etc. – further social distancing will feel cruel. The acute social distancing that happens when a loved one dies, the loss of that very person, without the love and support of those around you, would be exponentially excruciating. Even with the support of friends and family it is excruciating.
Yet, I also remember all the support and connection I felt from around the world. Rachid had been to over 40 countries and had created friends in places all over the map. Most of his family lives in North Africa and France. Those that could travel to us were gifts. Those who were texting and calling and sending us love were also without measure. I cannot quantify what it meant to hear from people and know that they were aware, concerned, and with us in spirit. One friend asked if it was okay that she was crying with me halfway around the world. Yes! Bells were rung, (hands too), and I can imagine a phone chain of love circling the globe.
We can do that now. Phone calls, texting, skype, emails, whatever! Write a letter! When the kids were little we use to gather together, close our eyes, and send a “love message” to Rachid when he was traveling – and then ask him later if he got it. We would think of him, concentrate, and send love. Silly, maybe. But it felt good and it gave us something to do when we were missing him. I wonder what he did feel? I hope he still gets those messages.
I know that there are so many that can’t social distance the way that is being requested. We worry about family living in very close quarters. We know there are people without their basic needs being met. How can they take this on? They live in worlds that I, writing this at my dining room table, will never fully understand.
Then there are the folks showing up everyday stocking the grocery stores and pharmacy shelves – love message sent to you right now! Thank you! And there is my daughter, a nurse, and all the medical/hospital staff who will find no distance. Strong and wise hands procured several masks for her from the barn, the back of a truck, and from friends who chose to share. I will meet her tomorrow and hand them to her from six feet away. I believe she will get the love message.
I have probably shared this poem before and I know it has been read at a few memorial services. It really is for the living as much as it was inspired by the dying.
It’s true, what they say:
Tell the people you love, that you love them,
Offer kindness and say thank you,
Tell them why you cherish them,
Laugh at their jokes.
Even their breathing is music.
Because when the silence comes,
It is all you hear.
Caroline L. Fish – 2014
Wishes for better times…
Stay connected and find your spot in the sun if and when you can.