Yay! Back to Isolation!

I am so lost in time that I have no idea what day it is. I thought it was Tuesday. Then I reminded myself it was Wednesday. Then I decided it was still several days until Thursday when — perhaps — the garage construction workers will return.

It turns out this is Tuesday, after all. At least, I think it is.

I don’t really need to worry about time since one day is much like the one before and the one before that and probably tomorrow and many tomorrows to come, but I have to be careful to drive my car occasionally. In the winter, I can get by with driving every ten days, but when the temperatures hit the nineties, the ethanol in the gas dries out and bad gas ruins the hoses, so I have to drive about every five days. When the garage is finished, I should be able to fudge a little on driving since I won’t have to deal with the hot sun beating up my car, but meantime, I have to count the days between trips around town.

Today was a driving day, but I should have stayed home. Although I do believe that The Bob does not merit all the damage caused by closing the economy, I am still careful to maintain a safe distance from people. It’s not just because of The Bob, which isn’t a problem here, but because so many people are sick from various other ailments, and because . . . because I want to and now I have an excuse for not getting too close to strangers.

Unfortunately, this was not a good day for staying away from folks.

I limped my way into one store using my trekking pole for a cane, and a woman held the inner door for me. I stopped a few feet from her, but she continued to hold. What weird times we live in when a kind gesture becomes . . . obnoxious. I finally said, “Just go.” Then the whole Bob thing must have dawned on her because she gave me a sheepish smile and hurried away.

When I left the store, a scruffy fellow came up to me to talk about my VW Bug. He got so close I had to hold him off with my pole. He too gave a sheepish smile, but remained standing just outside the pole’s four-foot range.

Then, as I was leaving the parking lot, a car came charging out of the Dairy Queen drive thru and barely stopped in time to keep from hitting me.

Needless to say, I was glad to get safely back to the cocoon of my isolation.

I had a surprise waiting for me — although my larkspur flowers were all purple last year, this year they are coming up pink and white and purple and lavender. It was hard to get a photo of all the different colors because they seemed to also practice some sort of distancing.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Being Heartened

The title of this article is in keeping with my most recent blogs. In Being Me, I wrote about the punishing aspects of isolation, but how even in isolation, I am doing what I am supposed to be doing — being me. In Being Herded, I wrote about the dangers of social and cultural conditioning — being behaviorally primed — in an already dangerous situation.

Today, I need to write about being heartened, because the truth is, I am very disheartened. States are still adhering to laws and orders that were meant to protect us from a disease destined to kill off 66% percent of us. The disease hasn’t done even a fraction of the damage that had been projected, and yet the iron grip still holds. To enforce orders keeping people away from each other when it has been proven over and over again how important it is to see and touch people for overall health (and without overall health, there is no way to recover quickly from any disease, let alone The Bob) is unconscionable. I’m not saying there isn’t a danger of getting sick — there is. But It should be a choice to isolate if one wants. Older people should not be left to die alone from diseases that have nothing to do with The Bob. Loved ones should not be kept from saying goodbye.

And to see small business going under and people losing their livelihood even after the original pandemic models have proven to be drastically overinflated is heart wrenching. Oh, so many things are wrong about this situation that it makes me glad Jeff isn’t here. It would have crushed him to lose his store because of such an appalling unjustice. (Made even more unjust because small stores way more than large can offer a safe shopping experience.)

Oops. I hadn’t planned to write all that especially since I am getting disheartened again after all my efforts to hearten myself earlier this morning. And I did have a lovely morning. Since my knee still isn’t allowing walks, and since I can’t go on an adventure, I decided to go adventuring in my own yard.

It was definitely heartening to see that the larkspur I transplanted from a neighbor’s yard last year reseeded itself and is doing well. It’s especially heartening considering the fiasco of my spring bulbs. Some of the tulip buds froze, some of the daffodils never flowered, some of the bulbs never even poked up out of the ground. I’m not sure what the problem was except that I am inexperienced gardener dealing with a terrible drought and a soil that sometimes defeats even the best gardeners.

And yet, despite the problematic conditions, some bulbs do well with a bit of water. These iris come from a bed in my neighbor’s yard, but they sneaked over the fence when I watered a nearby bush, and now they are mine to love.

And this little cactus bud truly delights me. I transplanted the cactus from another neighbor’s yard last fall, and it withered (looked like it melted, actually). I was disappointed, but not unduly — it took a long time to get the prickles out of my gardening gloves and even my hands so I wasn’t exactly pleased with the plant. But now look! It wants to grow.

Ah, now I feel so much better! Being heartened makes such a difference I hope you find a way to hearten yourself.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.