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Love And Friendship In The Time Of A Pandemic

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Written by   95
2 years ago

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Fred Rogers once said: “Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.”

The coronavirus pandemic has underscored the serious and painful divisions in our country while highlighting the disparities in COVID-19 treatment and outcomes along with the politicization of our public health care system. The immediate economic consequences of the pandemic foreshadow difficult times ahead for many of our local residents and small businesses.

All of this is intertwined with the protests following the killing of George Floyd and the daily reports of the hateful actions and rhetoric aimed at people of color. And, perhaps, one of the worst casualties of the coronavirus epidemic is the loss of human contact. Needless to say, all of this is depressing and frightening and many of us feel vulnerable, helpless, lonely and not sure about the future! Sitting at home has given me time to think about who I am and how I relate to the people in my life. Even after 50 years of marriage, the “lockdown” has made my wife and me closer and more respectful of each other’s ideas and actions and has deepened our love. Our driveway get-togethers with friends, masks and all, have become more meaningful. Once we get past the organ recital (updates on our latest medical issues) our conversations focus more on how we can make things better locally and nationally. Also, I find myself curious about people that I have never met. I spend some time each day working on various projects that necessitate interacting with people all over the country. I ask total strangers how they are coping, which often leads to a back and forth wishing each other well and sharing what’s happening in our respective states.Listening, Learning and Struggling.. Because of the pandemic, the internet has become an even greater treasure trove of cultural events, providing access to free operas, lectures, movies, Broadway musicals and plays from the National Theatre in London. We joined Disney+ to watch Hamilton, and enjoyed the Cape Cod Theatre Project and the Woods Hole Film Festival online this year. I find myself spending more time learning about racial issues nationally and on the Cape. My wife and I have been participating in a number of Zoom meetings involving people of color who live locally; gatherings sponsored by religious organizations and the No Place for Hate committee. These sessions have detailed the racial inequities on the Cape as well as providing thoughts on how all of us can help to change things. I now look more deeply into my own actions or lack of action when it comes to racial issues. The events of the past four months have taught me that I only have one life to live. This is not a trial run for the future—this is it. For the first time since the late 1960s, I feel emboldened and more confident about taking a stand and speaking out when I see injustice or inappropriate behavior. I will continue with this struggle. According to one survey, as a result of virtual gatherings during the lockdown, the average American has made six new friends. I have made ten new friends who have enriched my life. Early in April, Neighborhood Falmouth issued guidelines for its members and volunteers on staying safe during the pandemic. These have been updated to be consistent with current public health recommendations. One of our concerns was that the stay-at-home orders would increase the isolation and loneliness felt by many of NF members, those seniors aging-in-place. One idea was to create a daily virtual meeting where our members and volunteers could gather to socialize, trade coronavirus stories, or pick a topic of common interest. On April 1, the first meeting was held using the online video platform Zoom. In the beginning, various NF members and volunteers came and went but a core of 11 people remained. By May a new Monday, Wednesday and Friday schedule was set up and we created a list of topics that would be of interest. We have not missed or canceled a single session.

Our topics have varied from serious issues such as “experiences with racism growing up” and “the role of religion/spirituality in your life” to childhood experiences such as, “your best friend in childhood” and “relationship with parents and grandparents.” Between May 1 and July 31, the group met more than 35 times with a new topic for each meeting. Something magical has happened through these regular gatherings. And there is no plan to stop.

I knew the people in the group before it started through volunteer activities and my responsibilities as president of the Neighborhood Falmouth board of directors. Over time we have all loosened up and have shared much about our families, issues growing up, dreams realized (and not), our concerns about the country and, most importantly, our concerns about each other’s well-being. All of us share similar values, a comfort in these difficult times. We have gotten to know each other well, and the stories shared are fascinating, funny, and heartfelt. It’s like having ten new best friends.

These virtual gatherings are the highlight of my week. Aside from the camaraderie and the fun of finding out new tidbits of people’s lives, I know that I can turn to anyone in that group for support and comfort if needed and anyone in the group can likewise call on me. Seeing my friends’ faces literally makes my day better. Like many others, I am concerned about what post-COVID life will look like. In the midst of the challenges lying ahead and all the uncertainties about our divided nation, having new friendships to be excited about is a rare positive thing. It speaks to this time as the start of a new era, without any negative connotation. I know going forward that I will not be alone and I am looking forward to sharing the air we breathe.

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Written by   95
2 years ago
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Yes you said write

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2 years ago

Thank you so much.... your comment is so good.... pray for me in your prayers...

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2 years ago

You are right, one of the worst casualties of the coronavirus epidemic is the loss of human contact. all of this is depressing and frightening and many of us feel vulnerable, helpless, lonely and not sure about the future

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User's avatar pro
2 years ago

yes my dear..... the situation of our country is being worst day by day..... May ALLAH grant your all dreams.... thank you so much for hour comment.... you comment is so valuable for me..

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2 years ago

That is correct. Often when you think are about to end something, you are starting something new.In this pandemic situation we have only met ours friend in facebook or twiters and Messenger. It is a boring life. But after that, we have a lot of enjoyment.

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2 years ago

But many people faced many problems.... even now we are facing problems... due to covid 19 the educational institutions are taking online classes... but there are many people in world who can not afford electronic device or net bills... it's also a very issue.

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2 years ago

Yes that is a big problem.the government declured that in teletalk sim you have to recharge only 100 taka and you can use zoom apps all the month and join the online class.but the network system of teletalk sim not better every where.In my district I mean in rajshahi it is impossible to attend class with this network or network speed. The public universities start to give loan to the students inorder to buy device but the students have pay 500 taka every month. In some month last time we have not 100 taka in our hand. So,how can pay the taka.

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2 years ago

You are right, one of the worst casualties of the coronavirus epidemic is the loss of human contact. all of this is depressing and frightening and many of us feel vulnerable, helpless, lonely and not sure about the future 😑😑

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2 years ago

yeah.... because of this covid 19 we are in lock down... and because of lock down we are prison at home... the day labour are the most sufferer...they can't go outside.. though they come out they have no work to do..... these all are such a painful situation....

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2 years ago