A CD10 SENIOR SHARES HER ISOLATION EXPERIENCE

Oct20ReginawebOn March 9, 2020, I transitioned from a Free Black Woman to a scared elder, hiding from a deadly assailant that could come masked as someone I love and who loves me.

Seven months at home is a long time, but it’s passed quickly. Although I don't believe in bad luck, I’m hesitant to write that luckily neither I nor anyone that I know personally has become ill from the devastating and deadly COVID-19 virus. It’s contagious and can be transmitted in so many ways. It has devoured over 200,000 American lives while I’ve been home avoiding human contact outside of my family that I live with.

Being a hugger and not being able to hug the people I love is taking an emotional toll on me. Three of my sons have come to visit and we wear masks and adhere to social distancing guidelines. Two are very careful maintaining ample space between us and remaining in one place during their visits. But my third and oldest son appears to be unconscious of the dangerous threat that he is.

One time he reached out to hug me. My response was very much like it would be if an assailant reached for me. I pushed him away and screamed, “Don’t touch me!” Instantly I could see hurt on his face, but my safety is more important than my first born, first love’s feelings these days. It’s taken a virus for me to establish boundaries that no one is allowed beyond.

At the beginning of my self-imposed confinement I didn’t open the front door, touch incoming mail, or allow anyone in two rooms. It took time to determine what my self-care looked like. As the weeks passed, I relaxed more when my grandson came home from his work at Trader Joe’s. I was afraid that he was carrying an infection from someone or something he had touched while he was at work. I’d watch to make sure he washed his hands, showered and put on clean clothes. I avoided him as if he had a plague. It took time to determine how confined I wanted to be.

At some point I decided that I need human interaction and loosened my rules. Moderation rather than rigidity. As a retired elder I’ve gotten to know our wonderful mailman, our UPS driver, all of the neighbors on my short 10-house street. We enjoy exchanging greetings and catch-up talks about all kinds of topics. Now we do it from a distance wearing masks and I find that everyone is respectful and doing their best to be safe during these emotionally ravaging times.

This is a first for every human on the face of our planet earth. No one has prior experience. There have been disasters before, but times are much different now. We have mass communication and information that would have taken months to reach us in the past and is now delivered to us while it is happening from every place in the world. Unfortunately, the news is delivered for sensationalism under the guise of first-hand reporting and other efforts to attain the highest ratings in a war between all media. Everyone fighting to be number one so they can dominate their market, be it television, radio, internet, podcast or whatever area they are in. Higher ratings, more money.

I’ve learned to watch much less news and skip through the daily newspaper while avoiding the emails and postings of friends and loved ones that are filled with doom and gloom, rightful anger and so many emotions that are not good for my well-being. I’ve had to find my comfort zone but not get so comfortable that I forget to wash my hands, wear my mask, and safe distance from most people that I come in contact with. I love sitting down to dinner with my family. I love interacting with my four-year-old great-grandson when he comes over to spend time with his father. I pray that he’s not carrying some virus that he’s been exposed to somewhere. My faith and trust that my family is concerned about protecting me and therefore careful, comes and goes and I have to sometimes gently remind them of my fears and concerns.

I’ve become more proficient than ever on my computer, doing Zoom meetings, face-time visits with my grandchildren and just recently celebrated my birthday with over 20 friends across the country on Zoom. I’m enjoying the new technology options that keep me in contact with family, friends and the world outside of my home.

And still there is seldom a day that I don’t feel some kind of congestion in my head or I cough, and that worries me for a few moments before I engage myself in something to put my mind to rest from thinking that does not serve me.
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Established in August of 2008 by writerartist Dianne V. Lawrence, The Neighborhood News covers the events, people, history, politics and historic architecture of communities throughout the Mid-City and West Adams area in Los Angeles Council District 10.

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