A view from a McCauley senior.
As a senior, surviving COVID-19 is a challenge, as there is far less contact with other human beings. Since the beginning of the pandemic last February I’ve had some symptoms, but I’ve been tested twice and the results were negative. What I miss most is seeing other human beings. To be safe, I keep in touch with others through e-mail, phone, and Facebook. I always wear a mask when going to the store, because we all know that COVID-19 is a serious threat to all of our lives.
My own family is afraid of giving me the virus because I am in the highest risk group. Last month for my birthday, my family took me out for lunch. We sat far apart, couldn’t hug each other, and we could hardly have a conversation. That was hard, but it was very nice to see them all. I miss talking with old friends, my daughters, and grandchildren. But since that is taboo in person, we keep in touch occasionally with phone calls or e-mails. I really miss “SEE-ing” them. Last month my older sister died suddenly, and her children put together a virtual memorial service via Zoom. That was wonderfully creative across many miles!
So how do I cope? I hug my dogs and I am grateful for their company. I have an Italian neighbour who occasionally asks me to take her to the store and bank, and that is nice – we have a short visit. But most days, even when I walk my dogs 12 blocks, I rarely see another human being. Even my choir has suspended rehearsals, but my orchestra has now resumed rehearsal with safe distancing. At our first rehearsal after many months of not seeing each other, it was a real joy to play violin again!
I also keep busy in my 1910 house and yard, even in the winter: snow shovelling, fixing things, cleaning, sorting through a lifetime of papers, sewing, and doing artwork now and then. A lifetime of teaching and helping others is now reduced to the occasional message via e-mail, phone, or Facebook. I do put almost daily thoughts and ideas on my Facebook page. And I know I watch way too much TV. So if someone you know lives alone, like your grandma or grandpa, please take the time to reach out by phone or email to let them know you miss them. It would probably be the highlight of their day, as it would be for me.
Joanne McNeal, McCauley senior resident for 14 years.