Pandemic Memoirs
Life in General

Pandemic Memoirs

I think we all know there will be many books written about the pandemic once it’s over. I assume it’s a once in a lifetime thing (well, we also thought that about the 100-year flood we’ve had three times). Of course, it will be remembered in history like other major world events. And I’m sure we can all think of some of the people who will be writing about it. 😉

Funny how relatively ordinary people become celebrities during these types of things. I remember during our Floods of ’93 how the head of the Des Moines waterworks was nicknamed the “Flood Stud” because he was always on TV giving updates about our water supply (which we lost for 12 days).

A blogger friend posted the other day about one of her daughter’s college assignments – to write about her experiences during the pandemic. All students’ writings would be put into an archive.

Her point was that we should all be writing about what we’re feeling right now. History books will try to capture some of this but that won’t compare to each of our individual stories. We need to write things down while we’re experiencing them because our memories will fade and we’ll forget how we are feeling.

You need to remember, especially if you believe what this article says. Do you believe we’ll be convinced this never happened, or maybe that it wasn’t so bad? I get wanting to feel “normal” again but I also think it’s unwise to move on as if it never happened. I don’t want anyone telling me how to feel.

While my story isn’t very exciting, my blogger friend points out that every person matters. So even though I’m not in the thick of things – not having to go to work, not losing my job, not being in health care, not even going to the grocery store – I have a story.

What’s that they say? The little moments often become the big memories we remember and cherish the most. I want to capture those “little moments” too.

Groundhog Day

It seems our days are like the movie Groundhog Day. Every day is pretty much the same and we can’t figure out how to move on. The only thing that changes is the weather, what’s on TV, and the COVID-19 statistics.

Did you know that in the Groundhog Day movie, that one day actually lasts 30+ years? I recently learned this from our pastor who talked about what we’re experiencing in his sermon.

Unlike in the movie, it isn’t taking years or even weeks for people to understand what they need to do to “move on” as we deal with the pandemic. There are all kinds of stories out there demonstrating the kindness of people, even in the midst of a very contagious virus. Sure, there are some who yell at the guy at the grocery store but I have to believe, most people are showing their good sides.

My pandemic story

At this point, our numbers haven’t peaked in Iowa so writing my pandemic memoirs might be a tad bit premature. The way I look at it, I can always write about it again.

I know we’ll all remember things like toilet paper hoarding, social distancing, and shelter in place. We’ll remember the President’s daily updates and how these could have been done in half the time if he got to the point.

We’ll remember making masks and the shortage of PPE and ventilators. I’d never even heard the term PPE until now, let alone know what it is. (Kind of like learning what potable water is during the flood.)

But here are some of the little things in my pandemic experience that might be easy to forget if I don’t write them down now. Heck, I might forget them in two weeks and I’m sure I’ve already forgotten something.

  • Feeling grateful we made it to Florida and back before things really heated up. I remember a friend asking me how things were while we were still in Florida because she wasn’t sure what to do about their trip in early April. I wasn’t convinced it was a big deal. Ha!!
  • Feeling needed after we were home for two weeks and my sister suggested my dad come stay with us because she had to keep working outside her home. I guess she felt we were no longer a danger to him.
  • Feeling uneasy about my mom being in a care center because right now, those types of facilities are some of the hardest hit.
  • Feeling surprised after hearing there might be a shortage of flour and sugar, so I put those things on Tim’s grocery list. Never did I expect we’d not be able to find baking powder!!
  • Feeling amused after my dad went 17 days without even putting on his shoes. We finally “broke out” and took a road trip.
  • Feeling a sense of accomplishment, after cross stitching for 25 straight days without a night off.
  • Feeling happy that the night off was for Zooming with my lifelong friends. Who had heard of Zoom before all this?
  • Feeling grumpy when the camera wasn’t working on my laptop and not being able to figure out why. Grrr.
  • Feeling content and not suffering from cabin fever. Sure, I would love to be able to get out and run some errands and I do miss driving my car. But generally, I’ve always been able to stay home for days without a problem. Ask me how I feel in a few more weeks. 😜
  • Feeling informed watching our governor’s daily update. And almost always getting a call related to my mom during that half-hour. Don’t these people need to check out her update????
  • Feeling adventurous experiencing our home in a new way. Giving up both my upstairs and downstairs recliners for my dad and sleeping in the guest bedroom. It gives me a new perspective on our guest experience.
  • Feeling resigned to the fact that Tim might be right when he says our bed is too hard. Our guest bed has a My Pillow mattress topper on it and it’s pretty sweet. (We have since purchased one for our bed. 😁) My shoulder hasn’t hurt since we started sleeping down there.
  • Feeling glad that my dad and Tim are playing cribbage twice every day – right after lunch and right after dinner. I sit there and listen to them “discuss” the scoring. They often refer to the instructions still sitting on the table, even after three weeks.
  • Feeling OK with the small changes in routine. Making sure I’m up by 7:30 so I can make coffee for my dad, who routinely gets up then. Waiting for him to shower every day before I take my turn. Generally, not worrying about being too productive.
  • Feeling gloomy when we experienced the four seasons in one week. 82 degrees one day and then getting snow three out of the next five days.
  • Feeling stymied that we have a hard time getting timely deliveries and being frustrated when we can’t find something we need.
  • Feeling astounded by all the people walking outside and the number of dogs in our neighborhood.
  • Feeling bothered having to wipe down all the groceries after Tim brings them home, thinking I can’t wait until grocery shopping is “normal” again.
  • Feeling isolated because Tim does all the grocery shopping and errand running so I don’t see what it’s like “out there”.
  • Feeling relieved after our Pharmacy Fiasco. 😂

What would be in your pandemic memoirs? What feelings do you have about everything that’s going on? Nothing is insignificant.

13 Comments

  • Marty

    I do really like your comparison to the Groundhog day movie. My wife has begun to talk about the “sameness” quality of our days, and how there is very little variety in it. That’s on us, of course; people need to mix it up to combat that. But still, we all have been put in a very similar box, lo these many weeks. I no longer see those memes about “I’ve been training for this my whole life.” I think the initial novelty has indeed worn off.

    Still, I’m grateful for so many things: A roof over my head, my health, food in the fridge, etc. Your list of “feelings” is perfect.

    • Retired Introvert

      I agree that the novelty is wearing off. I’m ready for more normalcy but I’m a little afraid of what normal will be.

  • Mona McGinnis

    I’ve kept a daily journal during this pandemic response, focusing on the following (found on one of the blogs I read. Was it yours?): what am I grateful for today? Who am I checking in on/connecting with today? How am I getting outside today? How am I moving my body today? What beauty am I creating, cultivating or inviting in today? I’m fortunate to live in a rural area where the disease incidence is low. The financial ramifications on the farming and oil sectors and the discrepancies in rural/urban, haves/have-nots overwhelm me at times. I worked in public health for 32 years. Medical officers of health and epidemiologists often said, it’s not if, it’s when. Here is our when. I am constantly humbled by Nature, not just on Earth Day. And I will keep on keeping on until I can’t.

    • Retired Introvert

      Nope, I can’t take credit for those questions but I do remember seeing them myself.

      I am also worried about the economic impact of this but I also don’t want us to try to “open up” too soon. I don’t understand what some of the states are doing and I really don’t get the protesters. I’ll give them a little bit of a break simply because I can’t know what it’s like to be worried about my finances. I feel for the small businesses that may never recover. Stay safe.

  • Donna

    I had advanced-stage cancer 21 years ago, and it feels kind of like that. Life is on hold, habits change, requirements change, you learn to accept the things you can’t control and focus on the things you can control, some days are good, some days are bad, you keep learning new things, some good, some bad, you’re filled with dread and hope at the same time and yet life goes on and you find yourself reasonably happy in spite of it all.

  • suzanne vosbikian

    I love the way you recapped your journey through Corona. I will definitely spend some time thinking about all that has transpired these past few weeks. It has been mostly positive, but I am anxious to move forward.

    • Retired Introvert

      I’ve had it pretty easy myself so I can’t really complain. But I do miss being able to move around freely and will be glad when it’s over. I do wonder though if it will ever be completely over. Not a comforting thought.

  • Janis

    I’ve been keeping short notes to help me remember the experience too. I do wish that I had had the foresight to write things down when we first started to hear about a virus in China. I can’t remember, for instance, when we started to prepare “just in case.” I wish I had captured the last time we had a meal out together.

    Unlike you, I can’t stand to listen to the daily federal updates… haven’t watched them ever since it became apparent they would be used as political rallies. I do catch up on the local and state level, though.

    My husband and I took a drive today. We had a quick errand we had to do but then we visited some favorite places with views. We stayed in the car and didn’t interact with anyone. It felt good just to get out and pretend things were normal.

    I’m glad that everything is still working out in your household.

    • Retired Introvert

      Oh, I’m not listening to the federal updates. Just our governor.

      All those things you think you’ll remember? It’s amazing how quickly they escape your mind.

      Stay safe.

  • LA

    Hmmmm….my memories will be how people couldn’t get over being petty and spent much of their time belittling others. I look at Facebook, the news, social media….and I just can’t believe how people are acting towards one another

    • Retired Introvert

      I’m not seeing that. But then I live in an area that hasn’t been very hard hit. I guess I do see some of that at the national level and it doesn’t accomplish anything.

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