How I’m Feeling Today.

We are 13 days into our “Shelter in Place;” our family started a week before it was mandated. 13 days of togetherness is a lot. But oddly, it’s been sort fun and surprisingly easy. We all feel much more relaxed without having to adhere to crazy schedules. We have enough food, even if it isn’t all fresh or our favorites. The “school day” ends at 12:30 so we spend afternoons walking, biking or playing games. I cook dinner every day–a luxury I never had before due to carpooling. And we eat dinner together every night. This is really different for us because until now, my husband travelled Monday through Friday for work. And then we spend evenings facetiming friends, having virtual happy hours. So, life is pretty good for us.

But I have moments where I wake up at 3am in a panic and wonder, how long will this go on? And there are really no answers to that question. Before Covid 19, my days were planned down to the very minute. Now, I can only plan for today. And tomorrow. Maybe next week. But not for next month. I sit and wonder what September will look like. And while I’ve enjoyed combing my hair and putting mascara on for virtual ladies’ nights, I wonder when I’ll ever hug my friends again or sit across from them in a restaurant.

And then I think of people who are alone and I feel guilty. Like my sister who is still working at a grocery store where she encounters hundreds of people a day. Or my brother who is alone in a rehab facility because he broke his hip when he fell during a seizure two weeks ago. He can no longer have visitors so I’m so grateful for the nurses who have been by his side day and night not just taking care of him physically, but who arrive cheery and smiling and make sure he laughs every day. How can they be so generous in spirit during such a stressful time? True angels.

I feel guilty because all things considered, our situation is pretty good right now. No one is sick; we are together; we have food; and we are enjoying this surreal time together. My heart breaks for those with family members who are ill and for people who are alone. The hours must feel like days when you are sitting staring at the same four walls by yourself. My heart is bursting with admiration and awe for the brave nurses, doctors, police, grocery store employees–everyone in the front lines. I feel such empathy for people who have already lost their jobs; with no end in sight, this must be terrifying. It’s hard to balance all these intense, conflicting feelings of momentary hopelessness and anxiety with appreciation and gratitude. My heart feels like a yo-yo in constant motion.

Usually when I feel sort of helpless, my reflex would be to act. Help. Volunteer. Do something postive to make a change. But in this strange new world, we are still navigating new ways to help. As a community, we’ve pulled together and supported local businesses by ordering take out even when some of us would rather cook. Kids are making signs and cards for hospital workers and those that can sew are making masks. Neighborhoods are organizing food deliveries for health care workers.

But for the people I am closest to who far away and alone, I’ve found that what they need most of all is contact. And although you might be thinking of them all the time, it’s so important right now to let them know it. I’ve found a few ways to do this:

  • Call every day. Express how much you need this connection too. Need a conversation starter? Play 2 lies and a truth.
  • Plan a virtual dinner date. Set your phone on the dinner table and facetime them.
  • Send groceries either from their local store or if slots aren’t available, go to amazon and send some dry goods–those are still relatively easy to get.
  • Write a letter or make a card and send it in the mail.
  • Send fresh flowers to brighten their home.
  • Have a take-out meal delivered from one of their local restaurants.
  • Send a puzzles and books. Find a local store who is doing curbside–better at this point than Amazon.
  • Find old photos and send them a few.
  • Watch a funny movie together. Order the same movie from Netflix and stay on the phone while you watch.

It’s so important right now to let people know they are loved and not alone.

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Author: Heather Zachariah

Former Art Director for Home Magazine, Heather Leahy Zachariah, left her career in publishing after baby number number one. She now works from home as a freelance graphic designer and a chauffeur to her 3 busy kids. "Working on TipsFromTown has been a wonderful outlet for me. It renewed my love of publishing where I can design colorful, enticing pages online and allows me to share the things I love about being a mom." Heather grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a place that still is near and dear to her. " After living in Brooklyn for 18 years and studying Graphic Design at Pratt Institute, she now lives in the Jersey burbs. "I love living so close to NYC, but in my heart, I'm an Ohio girl."


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