Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Pandemic Easter in the Rear View Window




With the strict stay-at-home orders in our state, I had nowhere to go on Easter, no special plans or even traditional holiday foods in the house or colorful peeps lined up begging, "Bite me!" Under normal circumstances I would have had at least some ham in the refrigerator waiting to attack my blood pressure and a half eaten box of peeps already attacking my ample waste line. So thank you, Pandemic, for small favors.

Feeling like I should do something to treat myself on that aberration of a holiday, I splurged after my first morning pee and used three squares of toilet paper instead of two. Back before the pandemic I never counted squares or cared how much I used and now it’s become a world-wide obsession. The travel bidet I ordered isn’t due to be delivered until later this week. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll write about this oddity that the pandemic is bringing to my elder years. Other countries are gun-ho on the gadgets so who knows if I’ll find humor or frustration in the trials and errors of using it or---gasp, that-water-is-cold!---it leaves me feeling clean and refreshed.

On Easter I did my Sunday morning chores---picked up dog poop, gathered up the trash and put it out for Monday’s pickup. While I was out there I brought in the Sunday Press but this time I put it in a quarantine place I set up in the garage for it and my mail to sit for half the week instead of reading it right away. Then I washed my hands and used a half of a Clorox wipe on the door handles, the faucets and everything else I’d touched after getting the newspaper and finished by washing my hands again. Rounding out my Sunday chores was watering the plants, planing my week of nothingness and checking on my e-Bay auctions that always close on Sundays. Surprisingly, sales weren't too bad, given it was a holiday---$537 for eight items that I prompted packed for the post office to pick up the next day..

On the cu-de-sac where I live I can see ten houses and when I was taking the trash out all but two houses were quiet on the Pandemic Frontier. Two families had company over, one of which had six cars in the driveway and two out front and while I was out there a ninth car pulled up. Three little kids and their parent came tumbling out, carrying food obviously completing ignoring the stay-at-home rules of no one being allowed in our houses if they don’t live there. These neighbors have a huge American flag in their front yard that they proudly hoist most mornings but they aren’t American enough to respect all the health care workers who are begging people to stay home so, we as a nation, can keep the pandemic from overwhelming the hospitals even more than they already are. My state has 27,000 confirmed cases of the Covid-19! It’s a good thing I’m not a block monitor because I hate confrontations.

We don’t have block monitors, or course, but they were a ‘thing’ back during WWII. I don’t actually remember the guys who wore Civil Defense arm bands and went around making sure everyone had their blackout shades pulled down but I remember my parents talking about those days. My older brother probably remembers because he, too, had a job during the war. He’d take his little red wagon around the neighborhood weekly to collect tin cans that were used in the production of ammunition. That wartime chore was repeated all across the nation by boys too young to do anything else. My dad was working practically around the clock at a factory that manufactured airplane propellers and bullet casing and his job was deemed essential thus the Department of Defense wouldn’t let him sign up for the military. No Rosy Riveter could learn to be a die maker/machinist who could build and fix broken dies overnight. 

All my life I’ve heard stories about the Greatest Generation, the generation my folks were a part of. The generation that lived through the Great Flu Epidemic of 1918/19, the Great Depression, WW II and all the wars that came after. On the home front during WWII men, women and children worked together to made a real difference. They did without, they improvised and they made it through to the other side of the darkness. It warms my heart to see glimmers of that same kind of toughness and willingness to do what needs to be done during our current world-wide crisis. The pandemic is testing a new generation and if my little anecdotal story from my block is any indication, only 20% are failing the test and are being careless, selfish jerks who think the rules for the greater good don't apply to them.

I’m not a religious person. Easter has never been about the resurrection of Jesus Christ for me. I’ve only been to church on Easter Sunday once in my entire life, and that was back when I was a chameleon changing my likes and dislike to fit whatever guy I was dating at the time. But I have studied world religions and Catholicism extensively in college so I can rightly claim I know what I’m turning my back on. Easter, for me, was always about family and food. Lot of people missed their traditions this year be it secular or religious which is both sad and at the same time, a symbol of unselfish love. One of the advances of age is we get to look back and see the difficulties of the past and that gives us street cred to say, “This too will pass." Next Easter I suspect will be extra special for everyone, no matter how we each celebrate. This year I'm glad to see it in my rear view window. ©

43 comments:

  1. I'm not religious, either, after living through being raised Roman Catholic. That almost did me in.

    I read an article this morning that the government models figured in 50% compliance with social distancing measures. The actuality is that more than 90% of the population is in compliance. Ohio has flattened its curve substantially and aggressively.

    There are always going to be outliers/outlaws. We have fundamentalist evangelical churches here who are holding services and packing people in. I am constantly avoiding people who seem oblivious or stubborn, either in a grocery store or on the sidewalk. Even my husband, who is out working in various buildings every day, comes home and has to be told EVERY SINGLE DAY not to wear/bring his work boots, clothes, lunch cooler/thermos, etc. into the main living area.

    I feel like a nag and a bad guy (or a Civil Defense Patrol) every day.

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    1. Old habits are hard to unlearn over night but it's deadly important that we do. So keep on "nagging."

      The fundamentalist evangelical churches drive me crazy! Science deniers at worst and naive at best.

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  2. Family and food - yes, we all are missing those meals and hugs with loved ones. Except for the doofus neighbors of course. I am coming to believe that those who are flouting the shutdown orders are those who are narcissistic and/or science deniers.

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    1. I think you're right and they got it in their heads early on that it's all a hoax. I saw a Facebook post yesterday of someone I know who thought Bill Gates created the pandemic so he could end up micro-chipping us all. Lots of crazy conspiracy theories out there.

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    2. LOL. Had to comment here. Bill Gates doesn't need to micro-chip anyone. They can follow mobile phone data that tells them all they need to know. Worldwide. My daughter makes her living (as a PhD scientist) analyzing this data. They use it for poverty relief, and now they are able to see virus data in amazing detail. One of her co-workers spends all his time creating models to manage Covid-19.

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    3. Fascinating, Hope. I truly admire Bill and Melinda Gates. They do so many worthwhile things in the world, using their money for the greater good of all of us.

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  3. I suspect many here in my neck of the woods also suspended social distancing for Easter. I expect a spike in Covid-19 cases over the next 10 days. I didn't go out to see if (how many, more like it) neighbourhood houses had more cars than usual in the driveways because that would only make me upset. But based on what my son's girlfriend - who works at a grocery store - told me people were buying up food last week as if they were going to cook Easter dinner for a crowd, like any other year. Oh brother...

    Deb

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  4. Easter was definitely depressing for me this year. Our visit to the grandsons to bring them their Easter Baskets was through the fence from at least 6 feet away. I hope next year, or even the next holiday is a whole lot better! Stay safe my friend.

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    1. Little kids grow up so fast, I imagine it's very hard as a grandparent to miss seeing them enjoying the normal holiday traditions we all grew up with. Fingers crossed we'll be back to them by the 4th of July.

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  5. I am not religious so not attending church service or Easter is not a big loss for me. However I did miss having peeps. :-)

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    1. Me too! I didn't even realize how much a tradition peeps were to me until I couldn't get them.

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    2. Look in the stores now (if you can or if you dare). Peeps are on sale along with the rest of the Easter candy and toys. ~Kathe-in-Raleigh

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    3. I was at a very large grocery store on Tuesday---first time in two weeks---and they didn't have any left over peeps. I was so disappointed!

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  6. Oregon, too, has so many people who think the "rules" are for everyone else. My daughter is thinking of getting an air horn to use at the grocery when people reach in front of her. Most of our stores now have one way aisles yet some do not notice or do not care.

    Many, many neighbors go out in their cars EVERY day. I see casserole dishes and bottles of wine traveling about. The HOA and Landscape chair still want to "meet in person" rather than use email or phone. Maui is now closed down for driving (except groceries and medicine) with a HUGE fine. While I don't want to have State mandated stay home but it looks like we may have to. Honestly, if we could all do that for just two whole weeks ...

    I sent my family (and me!) fruit dipped in chocolate from Edible Arrangements. That chocolate was sooooo thick! Mmmmm. No peeps for me but the kids got a few!

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    1. Oh my gosh, that air horn would cause some problems! We don't have one way aisle but I can see how that could help. I was at the store yesterday and I just turned my head when people passed.

      Two weeks at the same exact time nation wide would do it, but it's not going to happen.

      I still want peeps!!!!!!!!!!!

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  7. We have neighbors across the street that had about eight cars in their drive, and we know they are pretty fundamentalist. (One of them posted a picture of the guy baptizing someone in his swimming pool the year they moved in.) DH wanted to call the sheriff, but I convinced him it was a futile effort. You can't fix stupid, as my dad used to say. And you sure don't want to get into it with this guy...he's a hostile hamburger. Luckily, DH was talked down. LOL.

    I usually do Easter brunch for a large group, so cooking for 2 was easy and low key. And I didn't care if my house looked perfect, etc. I'm just as glad it's over, too. I love to eat things that don't love me and it's good to have that food behind me. Literally. LOL.

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    1. Calling the sheriff just would have made their day a little harder, having to deal with a fundamentalist/person who thinks the rules don't apply to them. I'm not a nice person though because I found myself wishing my neighbors would all come down with the virus.

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  8. I was pleased that my neighbors behaved. Normally they have drive ways full of cars with all the kids and grands but not this Easter. They enjoyed face time only.

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    1. Good for them. I think most people were complying to the stay-at-home orders.

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  9. Hearing you describe that neighbour’s Easter party makes me angry all the way over here. Don’t these people have any shame? My village was very quiet, but it is all the time now. Most of the inhabitants are elderly or live with elderly people so everybody is mindful of the dangers of venturing out.

    I am not certain that the world will ever go back to where it was pre-Covid19, is would seem almost to be impossible. I can see huge changes and they may not be for the better.

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    1. I totally agree with your last paragraph. As a widow I already missed hugs and now I fear they are going to be a thing of past between friends and extended family.

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    2. I'm a hugger but Andy and Kaitlin aren't. We're close in other ways, so I bought myself a teddy bear. :)

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    3. Great solution. Our senior hall director is a hugger but I'm not sure she still will be after this is over.

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  10. I am not an overly relious person but I do believe in God but for me Easter Sunday will always be the day dad died even if it isn't the date he died

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    1. I have the exact, same thing with my mom! She died on Easter morning and I can never remember the actual date because Easter is my marker. That was over 40 years ago and I've never run into anyone who could relate until now. My dad died on Christmas so both those holidays have never been the same.

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  11. I just hope most people will do the right thing too. Even in normal times people don't obey rules - road rules in particular. We have noticed here that there aren't as many road accidents as not as many travelling I suppose and not so many idiots skylarking. My dad had a major stroke on Christmas morning and that sure changed our Christmas for ever too but it is important to remember the good times together and not dwell on the other things. I am wondering what are Peeps?? The might be called something else down here. Thanks for your great blog, it gives me a lot to think about and also a lot of laughs.

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  12. Finally this Post showed up for me to read, Yay! The Peeps were tantalizing and a Hook in your Thumbnail for the Post, I didn't get any real Easter Candy this year either. We used what was left over from Halloween to fill Princess T's Eggs, she didn't mind, it has an infinite shelf life. The Rule Breaking Neighbors with the fake Patriotism are the type of hypocrisy that really irks me. I guess there is a Study underway about how Political Leanings affect how folks are viewing the Pandemic, it was very interesting, yet strangely not surprising to me that about 20% of Republican dominant States are taking it less Seriously and by Cell Phone Tracking are more on the go, even during Time of Pandemic when if they could stay Home, they should stay Home, for the sake of us ALL... probably Believing everything that falls out of their Cult Leader's Mouth I suspect?

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    1. I'm not surprised either. My trump supporting in-laws were probably down at to our state capital protesting the stay-at-home orders. They were promoting it on Facebook before hand. They believe all the conspiracy theories that Trump peddled early on and now they believe the death count is fake, that "they" were told to count people who died of other causes to be counted at covid-19 deaths.

      Halloween candy in Easter Eggs...that sounds like a neat trend to start. LOL

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  13. I'm not a religious person but I do believe in God. I really missed having my daughter come for Easter. We've decided to celebrate the holiday when it's safe to do so.

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    1. Why is that so hard for some people to do? Have a party to celebrate the end of the stay-at-home or a postponed Easter.

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  14. I don't know what is wrong with people. But I, too, saw way more cars parked in front of homes when Rick and I went for our walk. It was busier than any other day. And they were NOT social distancing. I LONG for the days of the civil defense monitors. Now I have a feeling if someone went to a door and tried to enforce anything they would get shot. I'm really beginning to hate our state of Michigan. But then, I saw what happened in Lansing yesterday when people couldn't access the hospital in ambulances because of "Operation Gridlock" blocking off entrances and roads to it. I saw people with guns, no masks, no distance on the capitol lawn. I hope they don't live in your neighborhood or mine because the cooties they might bring home could be deadly.

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    1. Open carrying guns in our state! Wow. Can you imagine what would have happened if the police had tried to intervene. I'm pretty sure a couple of my in-laws went to 'Operation Gridlock', Trump supporters and they were spreading the word before hand, trying to get people to go to Lansing.

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  15. Just hearing about your neighbors made me see red. I am so undone by the selfishness of some people. It is beyond my understanding. We missed having our family here for Easter and the egg hunt in our big yard for the Grand Girls. But we did a Family Brunch Zoom and while a far second best, it was better than not at all. I'm grateful for this technology while at the same time it's frustrating and unsatisfying. And it's what we HAVE to do! Those neighbors and others like them are endangering everyone. Grrrr....

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    1. I know! I tried to focus on all the houses without extra cars in their driveways but every time I'd look out the window I'd get mad all over again.

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  16. To each his own when it comes to celebrating holidays. They’ve all become so commercialized since I was little, then extremists latched onto some of them turning them into a farce, I’m no longer sure what they stand for any more. Guess we each just make them into whatever suits us which is fine with me.

    People generally seem to be observing precautions we’re told to take here in So Cal where I live east of L..A. from what I’ve observed. But news reports we do have those who ignore their own best interests, let alone what’s best for all of us in some places.

    I read about Mich., send my grandkids items to help distract them with their school closed. Wonder what they’ll remember of this time in the years to come?

    Glad your sales are going well considering all that’s happening. Guess your life is especially challenging now with all the plans you have in the works.

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    1. I think a lot of kids like having parents home with them. From what I'm seeing families are getting very creative in filling their time. It's the families that had child and spousal abuse within them before the pandemic that I worry about. So much stress is bound to make it worse.

      It's hard to keep myself motivated without that carrot of moving sooner rather than later in front of me.

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  17. Sadly, those who aren't respecting the lockdowns are keeping the virus alive. YouTube is showing an ad asking 'Have you killed anyone today?' Undoubtedly because so many people are oblivious or uncaring. We aren't going to see anything like 'normal' until testing ramps up and a vaccine is developed.

    I live in a beach town and thus far have seen no cases, but so many of the local businesses are dependent on tourists, it's only a matter of time once things start to open back up.

    If we had a president who was capable of communicating effectively with people, a 30 day lockdown might have worked to contain the spread.

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    1. All things combined, we'll be living with this threat for a very long time, no thanks to the incompetence of our current administration.

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  18. I just read where some churches are asking that stimulus checks be donated to them. What is worse is that many will do just that. "Give your soul to Jesus, but send your money to us!"
    I had a quick errand yesterday that involved no interaction, but after, I sat in my truck in the parking lot and watched over a hundred people come and go. I saw two masks, if you could call them that. Lots of hugs and handshakes. Dillon traffic was heavy and no one seemed the least worried about a pandemic. It is like watching a train wreck.
    I just cannot understand why people have just gone crazy. I mean, not all of them, but a lot. I cannot believe tRump is being worshipped. Inciting violence. I am worried for mankind.

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    1. Nothing he does anymore surprises me anymore, but I am surprised that people still worship him and continue to make excuses for him.

      I hadn't heard about the churches asking for the stimulus checks. I wonder if they are the ones still holding services.

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  19. My father, too, was a tool and die maker, and he spent the war at the GE Riverworks in Lynn, Massachusetts working on the army's first jet engines. I count myself lucky to have been brought up always to consider how my behavior affects other people, which makes the current situation easier to understand.

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    1. A lot of the work our dads did is now computerized....the schismatics and math.

      I think we both lucked out in the parents department.

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