Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Making it through

He dropped by to see us yesterday, my youngest son, a porch visit only. Outdoors, socially-distant, COVID-style. He hasn't dared to come by, won't dare to come in right now, because COVID cases are soaring and he works in a college bookstore - a campus that has welcomed students back for second semester this school year, this pandemic school year.

I search for his eyes, above that mask, beneath the warm hat. 

His eyes lack their usual smile, he seems weighed down. He's frustrated by his work, this sense that the students don't care they are making others sick, this sense of being overlooked by the university administration, failing to protect him and other even more critical front-line workers - those that clean the dormitories, serve food in the cafeterias, drive the shuttles, etc. He's disillusioned and discouraged by the world. 

He worries about his own health. He's in the area, visiting us, because it was time for another infusion; he has an autoimmune disease and needs these regularly. These infusions wear him out, he's always fatigued afterwards. 

Today, he's fatigued and freezing. We're freezing, all of us, despite the small heater that Tony has set up. Once cold gets into you, oh my, there's no warming up. I feel it in my feet first, and it just moves through my body, despite the lap blankets, warm coat, gloves. 

He doesn't stay long. The winter day doesn't allow it. 

Hours later, safely ensconced on my couch, wrapped in a throw blanket, I continue to feel chilly. He was so sweet to indulge us. He knows how much we miss him. (We sent him off with a shower of love treats, of course - homemade cookies, gourmet coffee, even a hot chicken/beans/rice dinner from our favorite local hole-in-the-wall takeout.)

I am so saddened by the heaviness I saw in his eyes. He's only 25 years old...despair is not a good look on anyone, especially the young. 

I am so done with COVID! Unfortunately, it is not done with us. There is still so much more to get through. I know this. We all know this. Getting the vaccine is the new chapter of the hassle, and it is grueling, too.

There's this mass of tall, deciduous trees at the back border of our next door neighbor's yard, where I often watch for hawk sightings and other birds. There are also rampant invasive vines that have grown up and through all the branches - a real mess, really. These trees probably need a good pruning, but who has the time or patience to get to this? Plus, doesn't it provide a little privacy, ultimately? The mess is largely invisible, if you keep your eyes lowered - ha! (but you'd miss the birds - ha, ha!).

Well, this past Sunday, we had the most magical snow. Truly. We woke up to these enormous, thick, soft flakes falling rapidly, instantly enveloping everything, making everything look gorgeous. I happened to look out at this mass of branches and vines as the snow fell - and I am so happy that I did. These inter-looping, interlocking, interwoven wild tentacles of ugly made for almost a fine lacework when coupled with snow. This visual eyesore was transformed, as if by magic wand of snow, into majestic beauty! I have the photo to prove it!

Savor this beauty, however brief. Joy is essential to persevering.

What beauty can we offer to transform the ugly sores of this world right now? 
What words or actions will bring a little soft magic? 
How might we treat ourselves and others, in this midst of all this ugly, 
to life's essential beauty?


I wrote this post for Slice of Life.  All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, on Tuesdays. Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!


  1. I have so many emotions triggered by reading about your baby boy’s anguish and the risks to his health. I am both heartbroken and angry. I’m so sick of the uncaring, so tired of those working in education being vilified and denied the vaccine. Your child should have already been vaccinated. It’s appalling that he has not. The description of your overgrown trees and the twisting branches covered in snow make me think of all the ways we grasp for something to remind us of lost beauty, and humanity’s failures.

    1. Thank you for your caring words. His/our situation is not worse than that of others; this is the work of our world right now, getting through this horrible pandemic. Everyone has a painful story; everyone is hurting. Finding moments of gratitude and joy help me immeasurably.

  2. "Joy is essential to persevering." So true! Thank you! So sorry about what your son is going through, and how it must make you worry.

    1. It's the worry that is tough, yes? It weighs a parent down! Always on my mind. Thank you for your caring words!

  3. I do feel your sons visit to you grounded him in what he believes- caring for others, following mitigation practices... and the treats help too. Like the others, my heart goes out to him with autoimmune disease and a public-facing job.
    Like your family, we have the heaters, lap blankets, and all. We have been so brave and cheerful through holidays and birthdays and Sunday family dinners- all on the cold, cold porch. I also am done with this but as you say, we don't get to decide. Stay strong.

    1. Thank you, Fran! Very caring words. Yes, we don't get to decide when this is over. You, too, stay strong!