Coronavirus. Who in their wildest dreams would ever think that with today’s advanced medicine, technology, global economy, and scientific knowledge, we’d be faced with a pandemic of such magnitude? Well, here it is and here we are. Now, the question is what do we do about it?
It is easy to bitch and moan about who is at fault. It is also easy to recount all of the clues and past wisdom of people who predicted its coming. Frankly, I am getting tired of laying blame. I have been raised to believe that we learn from our mistakes and move on. I know, that under the present circumstances, it is difficult to move on; it is much easier to stay in the rut we’ve created, but complaining and sitting back is counterproductive to helping us get through the current disastrous situation. Right now, my thoughts lie with how this crisis is affecting families.
Recently, I sent my granddaughter a text. What can I possibly say to her to help allay her many fears: Will any of her loved ones get sick? Will they die? Will she be able to return to school? See her friends? Play in a playground…? So many unanswerable questions are rambling through her twelve-year-old brain. What can I possibly write in a text to a grandchild I love so dearly?
When I started to type the text, I decided to be honest. I wrote that she is going through a unique time in recent history. I wrote that, yes, I have every faith that we will get through the present crisis, but it will take time and patience. Then, as I reread what I had written, I thought that my note sounded a bit like I was pontificating, that I was relating what she has probably heard ad nauseam. So, I wrote, “In a word, it sucks!” As I wrote that simple word, a word that grandparents would seldom, if ever, use when communicating with their young grandchildren, a sense of relief came over me. It does suck, I thought. It sucks for every individual going through this very difficult time. Finally, I thought of the pervasive popular phrase, “alone together” and went on to state that she is not alone. Her friends, teachers, and extended family members are also experiencing the exact same feelings as she.
The following morning, I spoke with my granddaughter on the phone and our conversation put my worries about her well-being to rest. “Yeayah,” she said. “We are taking walks and I’m doing home schooling. I miss my friends and I miss school, but we’re all going through the same thing. It sucks!” We had reached a new level of dialogue between us, one that is open and nonjudgmental, one that transcends the barrier that often limits acceptable conversation between adult and child.
I’m not saying that I will now freely use some of my more colorful phrases that might come out of my mouth during times of sheer frustration, but through writing that borderline inappropriate word at a time when more genteel words fail to adequately describe indescribable feelings, that simple word gave us both a sense of being in control of an uncontrollable situation.