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April Blog-Hang In There!

Updated: Apr 7, 2020

Hello, All Pet family. Here I am, on March 19, attempting to write April’s blog for the “umpteenth” time since February! The topic I have been working on is important but somewhat somber. I am having a hard time releasing it, especially during these uncertain times we are facing. I find myself searching for stories of hope. I thrive on hearing and reading about humans being kind and helping each other out. The way it should be, especially in times of crisis.

One of the reasons I accepted Maureen’s offer to write monthly blogs for All Pet and Home Care is my love for writing. The reason I love to write is the ability to work through and release all the stuff I overthink in my brain; I am one of those people who was born an over-thinker. I vividly remember being 7 or 8, when nuclear war and power was the headline in the news. I was so worried about that at such a young age. My family doctor told my mom I was a great candidate for a bleeding ulcer. Wonderful news! I am proud to report I am doing MUCH better at 40-something than I was at 8! I have learned that life is a journey. It is not a race. If we do not take the time to be mindful of our surroundings and to be present in our own lives, we are wasting precious time. You must count your blessings and be grateful every day. The best part of aging is the experience you gain. You learn your strength and what is truly important in life. And it always boils down to family, community and service.

These are very troubling times. We are all worried about the same things, no matter our age or profession. We’re all concerned for our health and the health of our friends and families. We are all uneasy, at best about what this will financially do to us. We pray for the well-being of our health care workers and grocery store clerks. But no matter how isolated we are right now we are all in it TOGETHER. And like everything, this is temporary. We have also been given an important gift. We have been given the gift of TIME. Time to call our loved ones we cannot visit. Time to play games with those we are home with. Time to finally clean my closets! I may get to “spring clean” in the spring instead of another year of “Oops, I guess it’s now fall cleaning!”

When I do turn on any form of media, I find myself seeking out the stories about people helping each other out. My favorites are the “lemons to lemonade” stories. I decided to share some of my favorites with you. I hope you find as much comfort and hope in them as I do.

Just remember that this will not last forever. Try to make every moment count. ALWAYS be kind and patient to one another and help each other out whenever you can. Always.

Some of the clever ways that my friends have invented to stay connected are via live streams- yoga classes, therapy sessions, Reiki sessions. Many of my musician friends are putting on live shows from their homes. My chef friends have started cooking shows/classes from their kitchens. My friends with kids were having craft parties with their kids via FaceTime. Last night friends were playing Yahtzee with their families on Skype!

Friends with businesses that were forced to close to walk-in traffic have put together pick-up/delivery services in record time. Even the utilities companies are making concessions to help people stay afloat through this. Stores are making special hours to accommodate the elderly and immune compromised, as well as special hours for health care workers. Some businesses have announced they are providing well-deserved bonus pay to their employees. I thank all of you for risking your health so we can have groceries and life-sustaining supplies and care.

People are sewing masks at home to donate to anyone who needs them. They are fostering shelter animals at a real time of need, since these shelters are struggling to operate. A community in San Francisco developed a simple system to watch out for their neighbors. Everyone has a sheet of green paper and a sheet of red. They display the green in their front windows, noting they are ok. When they need something, they display the red. Someone calls them to see what they need, and that need is fulfilled by the neighborhood. Brilliant! I’ve seen a school bus in my neighborhood every day last week delivering lunches to the needy. Friends’ teenagers have been delivering groceries and medicine to their elderly neighbors’ porches and bringing their mail to the porch. Speaking of groceries, since my husband was already trying to recover from pneumonia, we decided to limit contact as much as possible. I tried InstaCart for the first time. It is incredible. It gave us a way to get much needed groceries while limiting our exposure and it limits grocery store traffic. They dropped my purchases on the porch, further limiting contact. This is a great way to send some groceries to a senior you cannot visit, or a way for neighbors to coordinate so one person shops for many others. This is my favorite “service app” since Lyft.

As for really turning lemons into lemonade, there are the stories of the brides and grooms that had to cancel their weddings. I know what it was like to have rain on my wedding day (residual hurricane parked over PA for 2 days, actually!) I cannot imagine how hard it would be to have to cancel your wedding at the last minute due to a pandemic I applaud those couples who found clever ways to turn their losses into helping others in such profound ways.

I have to start with my favorite wedding story. I did not have dry eyes after this one and of course any story about bringing joy and smiles to the elderly makes me cry happy tears! This couple found themselves stuck with a lot of flowers they didn’t know what to do with. So, they called Meals on Wheels and asked if they would like to pass them out with their meals this week. They were more than happy to. The couple made small bouquets- enough to give one to each senior. The 93-year-old man they interviewed was overjoyed to receive them. He lost his wife 2 years ago and has been quarantined for a month. He was giddy over the surprise of someone showing up at his doorstep with a bouquet! He couldn’t remember the last time he had a vase of fresh flowers in his home. He said they reminded him of his wife. *cue my ugly cry!

Another couple in New York City dressed in their wedding attire and walked to the apartment building where their pastor is self-quarantined. They recited their vows on the street while he officiated from his 4th floor apartment window. They live streamed the “ceremony” for their families and friends! All of the neighbors watched, from safe distances, of course, and the street erupted with applause when they were introduced as a married couple. There are many stories of couples all over the country who have donated all of the food and flowers from their canceled weddings to senior homes, hospitals and food pantries. And we would not be human beings if we did not keep a sense of humor about things. It is an important survival tool. Some of the funny stories I’ve seen are a couple who had to cancel their wedding, dressed in their wedding attire, put on masks and strolled the city, taking a unique set of wedding photos- all in their masks. In Spain, someone was walking the streets dressed in a giant T-Rex costume, trying to cheer up people on their balconies.

Hearing my friends talk about how their pets are reacting to having them home all the time are very funny. I know my own pets have been thrown off by this schedule disruption. At first, they expected 24-hour play time. If I was working on something, I was getting “the look” from Pablo from across the room! Now we are on day 7 and he is exhausted! He slept from 6 pm yesterday until 9 am today. It is 11 am and he is back to napping! That reminds me of another lesson I can learn from my dog. We are ALL creatures of habit and routine. And right now we are all trying to figure out a new TEMPORARY normal, if that is possible. Sometimes trying to take life one day at a time is too overwhelming when things are changing at such a rapid pace. So just take it one breath at a time. There is time to slow down and recharge your batteries. Use it! Snuggle up with your furry friends and take a little nap. Enjoy a slow walk, leaving your phone at home. (a rule at my house) And most importantly, stay safe and healthy- both physically and emotionally.

We will all get through this- TOGETHER! (by staying apart for just a little while)

Love, Rae

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