Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Losing My Other Mother

This morning at 3:30 a.m. Central Time, my mother-in-law passed away. It is nearly 2 months to the day when my father-in-law died. The incredible heartbreak of losing both parents so close together is indescribable. As I mentioned when Jerry died, they have been a part of my life since I was 19 years old. They treated me not as a daughter-in-law but as an additional daughter. I felt the same about them. They were not in-laws - just mom and dad. I was incredibly blessed to have two great sets of parents in my life.

COVID still runs rampant in our country, but the rules for indoor gatherings have loosened a bit. I believe we could have up to 50 people at her funeral, though we do not intend to do so. Unlike with dad two months ago, Jim and I are planning to drive to Iowa for the service, and then up to Minnesota for the graveside blessing. The fact that we were unable to do that for dad has been eating at Jim. So we will take every precaution that we can to try to be safe while at the same time honoring mom and bringing some closure to these two deaths.

As we were awake very early this morning, we noticed the beginning of the new day. The sky looked promising, so we walked the short distance to Sunflowers Point by our house. We believe this beautiful sunrise was mom and dad's way of letting us know that they were reunited, they were okay, and that they will be watching over us.

RIP, mom. Thank you for making me one of your own, and setting a great example of what a loving wife and mother is all about. You are forever imprinted on my heart.

sunrise on Mountain Island Lake

Saturday, June 20, 2020

On the Road Again

We took another short day trip on Thursday, this time to Greenwood, SC. The town is celebrating their 54th Festival of Flowers, minus the "Festival". Due to COVID, the festival itself was canceled, but the city went ahead with its signature topiary display. We decided to check it out. The drive should have taken 2 1/2 hours, but that turned into nearly 3 1/2 as there was an accident on I-85. The topiaries made the frazzled drive worth it though. There are more than 40 of them, and they are stunning! We really have to applaud the city horticulture crew and all the volunteers for their hard work. 

Because we arrived later in the morning than we planned, we had an early lunch at the Mill House, where we were the only ones in the outdoor dining area. We had read that the pizza was good, and it did not disappoint. The restaurant was also a good launching point to hunt for the topiaries. There were not many people around, so it was easy to keep our social distance as we walked the route to get our photos. The day was beautiful, and it was a treat to get some exercise in the cooler temperatures.

We found all the topiaries and were on our way home by 2:30 or so. We celebrate these baby steps out in public as we try to gain some semblance of our new normal.

Greenwood, SC

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Safer at Home Day 26

This is the 26th day of Phase 2 - Safer at Home in North Carolina (and Day 82 of restrictions), and the resulting COVID-19 statistics are a bit dismal. In our state there have been over 44,000 confirmed cases, with more than 1,100 deaths. In the United States, 2.16 million cases have been confirmed, and over 118,000 people have died. Worldwide, there are 7.69 million confirmed cases, with 428,000 deaths reported. 

There is no question that the number of coronavirus is spiking, but is all of it due to the fact that our country, as well as many others, are slowly reopening their economies? It is difficult to tell for sure. More tests have become available, so part of the increase could be due to better testing and/or reporting. My personal observation is that fewer people seem to be taking the virus as seriously as they had in the past. I am seeing fewer and fewer folks wearing masks in public, and there is a lot less social distancing taking place.

Linville Falls, NC
Sunday we went to Linville Falls, NC with another couple. We each drove in our own cars, and met in the park parking lot to hike to the falls. It was much more crowded than I would have liked, and very few people had masks on. While passing on the path stairs, it was impossible to maintain 6' of distance from others. What it made us understand is that we simply cannot go to outdoor public venues on the weekend anymore. It is a shame because we know it is safer to be outside with other people than in, and we certainly are trying to remain as active as we can in light of the fact that our fitness facility and group exercise classes are closed for the time being. But it became clear to me that I am literally putting my life into other people's hands, which they don't seem to get. I wear a mask to protect THEM, not me, and they certainly are not returning the courtesy.

What is the answer? We are months if not years away from a vaccine for the coronavirus. The way we have been living for the past few months is not much of a life at all. As humans, we have the need to be with and touch other humans, particularly our close loved ones. Is there a way to open up the country while still being medically responsible? I believe they will have to make wearing a mask in public mandatory and not just a suggestion in order for us to have any chance of beating the odds of getting the virus.

In the end, we all have to decide for ourselves what our risk tolerance is going to be. For now we will continue to mostly self-isolate, taking baby steps into our old life of being around other people. I guess we will be like the turtle - slow and steady wins the race.

backyard turtle