Hello everyone. (I’m sending this to many people BCC so as to keep email addresses private - forgive if you get duplicates.)
I am sending this message out to friends and family with the hope that you are all safe and well.
Being a nearly life-long existentialist, I can’t help but to be philosophical and reflect on the situation we all find ourselves in. We are living, it seems, in a surreal world, one we couldn’t have imagined even a few months ago.
I was taking an Italian refresher course with the idea that one of these days I might get to Italy again to explore the towns where my grandparents were born. Now, that seems unlikely.
I watched the news of Italian hospitals and doctors and health workers and it was truly heartbreaking. I could feel my eyes get moist. And now we see the same happening here. Such brave and dedicated workers on the front line, taking care of the sick and dying with dwindling supplies and at risk of their own health and that of their families and loved ones. It is emotional beyond heartbreaking.
And there are many others who we rarely or never see: the maintenance workers who have to clean bathrooms and mop floors, the food service workers, those who answer phones, the ambulance crews, and now those who must handle the bodies and bury or cremate them by the hundreds….and I’m sure, so many others like grocery store workers and pharmacy staff who are being called upon to be there for all of us.
Whenever I have visited a doctor or a clinic for a check-up, for a blood test or whatever, I always make it a point to say thank you to the provider and the staff. From now on, I/we should make certain to not forget to thank those who we entrust with our health and care. They are true heros in this age and deserve to know we appreciate their work.
I consider myself fortunate by comparison. Going grocery shopping and stopping for a bite to eat while in town was my weekly “entertainment” since we live in a tiny town about 35 miles from anywhere. I am a senior, so now I have a bit of trepidation about even going to the grocery store - certainly not a risky activity by comparison to going to work in a hospital, but this pandemic has made us all fear some of the ordinary activities of life - things we took for granted, just weeks ago.
Here in New Mexico we have not yet gotten to a point of being overwhelmed. People (well most people) are doing what they need to, to keep themselves and others safe and healthy.
Yet, we, like people everywhere, are feeling the anxiety, the sadness, the grief, the apprehension about the future.
The old Greek myth of Pandora’s Box comes to mind. We have unleashed the pestilence and it may very well be here to stay. By we, I mean all of us, all of humankind.
Science had predicted this and, well, we were all to busy raping the earth and amassing wealth and fighting one another and jetting around the world and looking out for our own selves and living with little regard for future generations.
The universe, mother nature, or if you prefer, the almighty, has put us in our place. Alas, we are not supermen/women; we are not masters of the universe; we are not invincible. Our hubris has brought us to this reconing, to this place of frailty and humility.
Grief is an appropriate word to use for what we are experiencing because we, life, the world, will never be the same again. And denial and anger, and bargaining, and more grieving.
It is, in a way, a loss of innocence, a paradise lost, a loss of a way of life that we were used to and took for granted. Life may never be the same. We may certainly grieve the dead and we may grieve even more the loss of what was before.
But we also are blessed with medicine and science and great doctors and scientists who are dedicted to finding ways to tame, if not eliminate the evil that threatens us. Now is certainly not the time to ignore the wisdom of science and medicine. And do not be fooled by those who would use our fear for their own advantage. Don’t fall for unproven cures or treatments, for scammers who would take your last dollar for a bottle of snake oil. Or those who would take your confidence and laugh.
Please heed the warnings of trusted health experts and keep yourselves and your loved ones safe. I am hoping you are not too fearful and have those around you who can help and support you. I’m sure that this too will end.
On a somewhat lighter note, I have always been frugal and buy quantities of whatever is “on sale” or those multi-packs of whatever at Costco. So we have enough food. Maybe too much. I have about 25 pounds of flour on the shelf! That will hold us for a while, I’m sure because I have been making my own Italian bread (and pizza and calzone), because there is NO GOOD ITALIAN BREAD IN NEW MEXICO! (However, I have not stockpiled TP and I’m sure I won’t be able to find any when we run out.)
My hubby, Leon, is still working. His regular place of business, Tent Rocks National Monument is closed to the public but the staff have been doing maintenance and Leon has now been assigned to other Bureau of Land Management projects. Thankfully, he is not in much contact with the public, so he is relatively protected.
Our dog Benni (short for Benedict - Latin for blessing), like dogs everywhere, is totally oblivious to what is going on. He still wants his daily hike in the hills with all his doggie friends, his meals with a helping of people food, his treats, his afternoon walk to the mail room, and snoozing a lot. He is truely a blessing!
We may not be in close proximity but we do think of you all. Life seems to get away from us and, well, making phone calls has never been my favorite pastime. Again, wishing you all a safe journey and safe passage. May we all get there unscathed.
Frank and Leon
P.S. As my grandma DeFrancesco always said (adjust age as appropriate), “You don’t know-a nothing-a yet! And look-a me, I’m a 72 and I don’t know-a nothing-a yet!” She would then tell the story of the old, once very beautiful, woman who was dying, thanking God that she was dying without a blemish or broken bone, but then the pallbearers dropped her casket that went tumbling down the steep stone steps of the church, her body expelled and the casket landing on her now blemished and broken body. “You, see,” grandma would say, “Even after-a you-a dead, you still don’t-a know-a nothing-a yet!"