During the short period of relative normalcy between my father’s illness and death and the beginning of “Novel Corona Virus Lockdown 2020”, I put out my spring and Easter decorations. Ever since I chose bunnies as a theme for my oldest daughter’s first birthday party in March of 2001, I have collected and displayed bunnies and other spring themed items around this time of year. A couple of years ago, after becoming more interested in Lent and the Episcopal church, I made this banner that I display – project cred to Jerusalem Greer. For the days of Lent, one side reads “Remember.” The opposite side to be displayed at Easter spells out “Alleluia.”

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Because I have a very small house with an open living area, I see this banner constantly, especially now that I am home all day. So I would challenge everyone to remember a few things now, as we all go through this time of social distancing, quarantine, and this national, and global, emergency.

Remember to take care of yourself. It is all too easy to just stream one Netflix show after another and never leave the couch. But now is the perfect opportunity to do things you always say you are too busy to do. Take a walk, clean out a closet, read a book. Prepare the dinners you never have time to cook. I plan, once the weather clears up, to clean off my front porch and make room for plants I surely will kill. It is an annual tradition and no pandemic shall stop me.

Remember to check on others. My mom is the single person I am worried most about during this time of isolation. Over 60 and immunocompromised, she is under a self imposed house arrest, isolating from even us “just in case.” As you all know, we lost my dad less than a month ago. Her feelings of isolation were happening long before this started and this new quarantine only adds insult to injury. My brother and I are staying in touch, making sure she has what she needs and I stay in continual conversation with her but it is difficult. If you have the ability to check virtually on someone who you know is alone, please do so.

Remember the actions of those in authority. I am not going to delve too much into politics here. I will say that there is a huge disconnect into how this pandemic was initially responded to by our leaders. Countless people went about their daily business long after there should have been a response because they were told and believed that the novel coronavirus was a political “hoax”. There are many people putting themselves and others at risk due to the initial information they received that was inaccurate and dangerous. And it really isn’t a matter of “once they knew better, they did better.”

Remember your faith. I am not going to spew out platitudes such as “God’s got this” or “faith over fear.” But for many people, faith is a huge part of surviving and thriving in any crisis. Seek out messages of comfort during this time. Follow Bishop Michael Curry on Facebook. Connect with your faith community online. If you haven’t been much on organized religion in the past, give it a shot. You don’t have anything else to do! 😉

Remember that it is okay to be disappointed. I am the ultimate planner. This year though, with all else that was going on in our life, we didn’t have spring break reservations, but I was planning a few days on the coast that aren’t going to happen now. It is okay to be sad and mad that that vacation that you have planned and saved for will have to be postponed. Millions of students are missing everything from school plays to proms to possibly graduations. Weddings, and even funerals, are having to be put on hold and people are devastated. Yes, everything is relative, but everything is also important. It is not being selfish to mourn what you thought was going to happen, especially not knowing when things will return to any kind of normalcy.

Remember not everyone has the luxury of working from home. Healthcare providers, those who work in hands on industries and service industries, those in retail, many many people have no choice but to go to work each day and take every precaution possible to protect themselves and others. If you do have this opportunity, by all means, take advantage of it, but please try not to judge others that do not.

Remember that this is not a time to socialize, period. Although I do think that for those who can work or school from home, you can use this opportunity to do things you might not normally have time to do, it’s not a time to hang out with friends, have house parties and have fun in some kind of extended “end of the world as we know it” party time. This was a hard one for me and a call that I should have made sooner for my family. Not for me so much, I put the “in” in introvert, but for my daughters, especially my youngest, who is having to isolate from her long time boyfriend. And my reasoning was still a selfish one. I was, and am, thinking of my mom. For those who are young and healthy, who may not have any contact with anyone that would be in a high risk group, I actually can understand how there is a disconnect on why they should have to stay home and isolate. There is so much we do not know about this virus and how it is transmitted but there is sufficient evidence that it may be transmitted by those who are asymptomatic and therefore that no one is immune from the responsibility of social distancing.

We don’t know when this crisis will be “over” and we don’t know what we will be left once it is. Remember that we are all in this together, even though we are apart. Remember that you are not alone. Remember we can still live. Remember we can still love. Remember that, as my Granny Williams used to say “this too shall pass.” The choices we and others make now will determine what will remain after it does.

-Karri Temple Brackett
March 18, 2020

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