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  • Writer's pictureSusan Byers


Wow, how life has changed.

A couple of weeks ago, we came back to the DC area so I could have shoulder replacement surgery. My sister (God bless her) invited us--me, Len, and our four cats and two dogs--to stay with her and her husband for 3-4 weeks while I went through the worst of the recovery. We planned to put the camper in storage and have some work done on it. I was squeezing the surgery in between coming back from Texas (by way of friends in Alabama and Tennessee, still to be blogged about) and two graduations: our niece's on May 4 (we were flying to Miami) and our younger son's here in Virginia on the 15th. Then we were headed to Cincinnati, where our grand-nephew was to be ordained a rabbi over Memorial Day weekend. From there, it was visiting family in the Midwest, then heading north and west on no particular schedule (at last!).

All of that is out the window.

We are in my sister's basement. The camper is getting repairs. But our niece's commencement has been postponed until December, our son's will be virtual (a real disappointment), and the ordination celebration will be ... TBD. Another niece, my sister's daughter, is on one of the last flights back from Australia, where she's spent the last couple of years. She had planned to head to Asia for awhile, but can't; her only option is to come home--and quarantine in her room for two weeks. Our daughter the teacher is trying to teach second grade online; kids are not logging on. Our graduating son was going to Europe with her for a few weeks before starting his new job. Not happening.

Everything is in the air--and hanging there. How long will this scourge last? Will the administration take the immediate action needed to address the multiple crises facing us, or will it continue to boast, make promises and flounder? Will the virus fade with warming weather only to come back in the fall, as influenzas tend to do? Will our kids lose their jobs (fortunately, three of them are in "necessary" fields, but who knows)? How bad will the looming recession be? If we can travel, will we be safe doing so? We just don't know. Being among a demographic very likely to get very sick or die from COVID-19, we are scared. We are scared for family and friends. We fear for our nation, and for nations around the world, not only the virus but also the devastating effect it will have on the global economy. We feel like we're living in a Michael Chrichton or Stephen King novel ...

And so, we're hunkering. We'll stay here for three or four weeks, and then move back into our little home on wheels. We found a campground in southern Virginia where we can stay pretty cheaply for a month or two, and try to wait out the virus. If I can't reschedule my surgery for this summer, then we have to rethink what we're doing. Do we go ahead out west, and hope I can tolerate the pain enough to drive until we have tools to combat this virus and surgery is safe? Or just camp in one place?

We just don't know. For now, we will avoid going out except for necessities. We will hunker, we will watch the news and lots of movies, and we will wait. And hope. We will wash our hands a lot and carry hand sanitizer everywhere. I will try to catch up on this blog. We'll finish renovating the camper. And we will pray for all of us: for you, for our nation and for the world.

Meanwhile, we all must do what we can to slow this thing down until science and industry can get in front of the virus. Please be careful. Be safe. Wash your hands, avoid crowds, use hand sanitizer, and don't hug even friends or family (unless it's your intimate other). I know, it's hard and it's horrible, but keep your distance. Your life--and lots of others--may depend on it.

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