Not Cowering, Not Courageous

What if there were hundreds of thousands of people dying in Colorado alone, not just the 987 who have died so far? Would you have the courage to live, to fall in love, to open your home to those less fortunate, to try to find out who unleashed the microscopic beast as my characters in A Spark of Heavenly Fire did?

Apparently, I wouldn’t. I’m following orders and staying home. Alone. Not much courage in that. No spark of heavenly fire, either, that’s beaming up and blazing in this dark hour of adversity.

I’m not exactly cowering, but I am paying attention to the stay-at-home order even though most people in my age group aren’t. Little by little they are claiming their lives, going out and doing non-essential things, getting together in small groups. If my knee were healed, I might join some of them, especially those who meet outside, but my knee makes me feel vulnerable. I’ve also spent so much time alone that I fear my immune system isn’t exactly in tip-top shape, so I’d be especially susceptible to any small illness that comes along.

So, not cowering, not courageous. Just pragmatic.

I do worry, though. I have spent so much time in the years since Jeff died trying to be sociable despite my inclination to not go out, that I fear this time of being forced into staying home will make it all but impossible for me to gain the energy to overcome my natural hermit tendencies. I used to say “yes” to all invitations because that forced me out of my nest, but now I find myself saying “no.” Eventually, people will stop asking.

Although I do believe that The Bob was never severe enough to merit the measures that were taken to keep us home and to “flatten the curve” to keep the ill from overwhelming hospitals (the projection of deaths was built on a flawed model that was discredited months ago), I would probably have stayed home anyway. I tend to catch things easily and be sick longer than most people — and did so even when I was younger — that I have learned to take extra precautions, though I admit, those precautions probably would not have been as strict as the stay-at-home orders.

Luckily, I have the choice. Luckily, I have a lovely house in which to stay home.

And luckily for you, for the next month, A Spark of Heavenly Fire will be available as a free download from Smashwords in all ebook formats. You can find the book here: Be sure to use the coupon code WN85X when purchasing.

I figure that by the time the world gets back to normal — or as normal as it will ever get — people will be sick of the very word “quarantine,” and won’t want to have anything to do with novel diseases or diseases in a novel, which is why I giving it away now. I hope I’m wrong about people not wanting to read about devastating diseases after this is all through because A Spark of Heavenly Fire is more than a story about a pandemic — it’s the story of survival in the face of brutality, government cover-up, and public hysteria. It is also a story of love: lost, found and fulfilled.

It certainly is not about a woman who stayed home. Where’s the story in that?


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.

Living in Lockdown

The stay-at-home order won’t be extended in Colorado when it expires in a few days, though there will only be a limited opening of businesses and interactions with people. Social distancing is still to be observed.

But . . . the senior population is still in lockdown, allowed to go out only when absolutely necessary. Apparently, agism is alive and well, especially since in many cases older folks are way more vulnerable to the effects of isolation than they are to any pathogen. Still, I’ll go along with the order since it doesn’t make much difference to the way I live my life though it is beginning to make me feel imprisoned.

There’s been no indication of when the library will reopen, and who knows — since I’m one of the locked-down seniors, they might not even let me in when it does open for business again. Social distancing, you know. I still have a couple of weeks’ worth of emergency books left, and I can extend that a bit by watching the DVDs I borrowed from a friend months ago, and then . . . who knows. It’s up to the vagaries of bureaucrats who seem to think we all live in big cities rather than in relatively unpopulated and impoverished counties as some of us do.

A ludicrous aspect of this situation are the emails I keep getting from various businesses, such as insurance companies and utilities, telling me they have my best interests at heart. Not enough to lower prices, of course, just enough to annoy and mystify me. For example, I’ve had appliance insurance for the past year that covered all the major appliances including my washer, and the company is changing over to a new policy that only covers the furnace, water heater, range, and air conditioner. My washer is acting up, and even though the new policy doesn’t go into effect for another week or so, they won’t send anyone out to fix my washer. Apparently, although I’ve been paying the premium, they’d already cancelled the original insurance without telling me.

And my internet provider sent an email saying that to ensure the safety of their customers, they will continue to do critical repairs, but added, “we’ve modified our processes so our technicians can complete exterior work as usual, while relying on our customers to complete interior work.” What the heck? We have to do our own repairs?

On a lighter note (perhaps), the garden frog I’d ordered months ago came in today. Although the statue photographed for the catalog looked happy, this one looks sad or at least pensive. Considering there is not yet a garden for the poor thing, no wonder it doesn’t seem all that pleased to be here.

But where there are plants, there’s hope, and I do have some plants in the ground, including a few lilacs that had to be moved when the garage foundation was put in.

It’s gloomy and windy today, but there is a 50% chance of rain, which would be nice. Not just for my incipient garden, but for a change.

And oh, do I need a change! I think I’ll brave the wind and go out for a short walk. Maybe the activity will blow away some of the feelings of isolation and imprisonment.


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.