Six months ago, we were masked into pandemic lockdown, locked in and fearful as the coronavirus stalked the world. I could not have imagined that a vaccine would reopen the world to our family this spring, but here we are, vaccinated and awaiting the visit of our vaccinated daughter and her vaccinated fiancé. Just yesterday, the CDC announced that we can move mask-free through the outside world.
Science should win all the prizes this year.
I’ve begun wondering how long it will take us to forget how grateful we must be for the rest of our lives. I’m going to try very, very hard to remember what it was like to be in quarantine as I move out into the populated landscape once again. And, as I do, I’m going to thank everyone that got us through the storm to safe harbor.
Musical (Thank-You) Notes
The enforced aloneness of the Coronavirus pandemic gave us a new appreciation for the people that make our lives possible. The apartment-dwelling residents in big cities applauded front-line workers from their balconies. Drive-by birthday parties became “a thing.” Musicians — like Yo Yo Ma, who kicked off #SongsOfComfort on Twitter — serenaded their neighbors.
Thank-You Notes and Holiday Cards
Last fall, we were not going anywhere, seeing anyone, doing anything. No parties. No visits. No people. And, yet, I sent out thank-you notes.
I had recently organized my stationery drawer, discovering a stash of note cards inherited from my mother’s treasure trove years ago. Thank-you notes, blank notes, Christmas cards, some with envelopes were so old that the adhesive had flaked off.
In between sewing masks and making phone calls for the Biden campaign (yes, thank you Georgia!!!!) I sent notes to some 50 aunts, uncles, cousins on the family mailing list maintained by our family scribe, Aunt Snooky.
I sent out holiday cards without a real holiday in sight and thank-you notes just because. It’s time to do it again, to the neighbor who delivered food from the grocery store, to my pool buddy who texts me when she’s going over for a swim, to the neighbors who have helped acclimate our rescue Lab Kumba to the dynamics of our community. To our daughter, whose genuine concern and interest in our lives shines through in her frequent calls, I sent an unbelievable New York Times Nutella banana bread.
Who do you know who could use a thank-you note?
Two years ago this week, my husband and I were completing our two-week crossing of the Atlantic. We had no idea that my heart would stop on May 5 while we were in Amsterdam, or that a compassionate community of nurses, doctors would save my life and that the Turkish family of another ICU patient would adopt my husband into their fold.
Yesterday, finally able to safely stand in a long line at the post office, I mailed my Amsterdam doctor, nurse, and physiotherapist copies of Kaleidoscope WoJo’s anthology In My Shoes including my story, Surviving Amsterdam. And, to celebrate the new lives created since we left Holland, I also mailed my friend Julie Iribarren’s charming children’s book, Levi Journey: An Unlikely Therapy Dog, to my doctor’s baby girl and to the baby girl of our Turkish friend.
Random Acts of Kindness
So, as the world re-opens, let us not get so busy that we forget how much we treasure each other. I was touched by the words in a lovely obituary that ran in my newspaper in February, and will close with them.
Life is a song. Love is the music. Jayne was a blessing of light and love to all who knew her. In Jayne’s memory, please consider a random act of kindness today.Obituary of Janice (Jayne) T. Balma, The Palm Beach Post