As I write my eighty-eight-year-old mother is in a Maryland hospital because she fell on Wednesday night. Maybe she slipped, maybe she passed out. Does it matter?
What matters is that it was the Wednesday of the week my kids were already told to stay home from school because of the pandemic. Just days before I had told my son he could no longer work at a local restaurant, his new job that he was so incredibly proud of because we wanted to stay as confined as possible in case we needed to go to help Grammy.
What matters is that my amazing mother, who has endured unbelievable trials with grace and grit, is now in a hospital that has many confirmed cases of coronavirus COVID-19 and many, many cases that are probable yet awaiting results.
What matters is that her nurse, who is 7 months pregnant, is reusing her mask. This same nurse has treated another patient who has a confirmed case of COVID-19. "Why aren't you quarantining, too?" that patient's family asked her. The simple and sad answer is because there aren't enough health care providers.
What matters is that my heroic sister is the only one of the five of my amazing mother's children who can be with her. One visitor allowed per patient...and that's not one visitor at a time. It protects the patient and it protects the rest of us. It is still hard. I feel guilty saying that because "hard" doesn't begin to cover what my sister is enduring or risking.
So, I wait. I wonder. I painfully listen to The Daily podcast of the toll this virus wreaks. I scroll through stories about the Italians' crisis, the Italians singing, Governor Cuomo's press conferences, Governor Hogan's press conferences, Dr. Fauci, funny memes and work from home tips. I take out another Clorox wipe and scrub the light switches and remotes and, well, you know because you are doing it, too. I yearn to go to stroll beneath the Cherry Blossoms around the Tidal Basin in D.C. but don't...I think it's the first time in 18 years. Then I feel guilty because that's no sacrifice compared to the small business owners who are facing incredible uncertainty and financial crisis, the healthcare workers on the front lines.
What matters are the great deeds completed by so many during this time of uncertainty and fear. What matters are the meaningful acts of concerned and creative citizens across the planet.
Who are the innovators, the kind-hearted, the Angels among us? Who out there is helping the small-business owners navigate the constantly changing landscape? Who is coming up with a creative solution figuring out how to make more respirators, hand sanitizer, masks? Who in God's name is working to help that seven-month pregnant nurse get her medical supplies...or better yet, helping her to be able to quarantine?! Let's shine a light on those heroes among us.
I don't know that I'll number them going forward, but for now:
Meaningful Act #1 goes to my sister, and all of the family members and caregivers and health care professionals making tough choices every day in the midst of this evolving nightmare.
My husband Marty was talking to friends yesterday on Zoom. He said one friend from Seattle told him that his local soccer field was now looking like a M*A*S*H hospital. It seemed hard to comprehend. Thankfully, in another conversation, one of his friends shared about the project that he (and I'm sure others) have started to help support local restaurants and health care workers. In 4 days they've already raised $47,000+. It was even picked up in this news article, One of the World's Best Restaurants Is Using Their Kitchen to Feed Hospital Workers. It's Meaningful Act #2. Here's a small blurb from the article:
"In thinking about health care workers, restaurant workers, people in the greater Seattle area that wanted to do something to help, Coryell-Martin wondered: "Can I connect these three parties?" His first thought was to reach out to people to raise money to pay restaurants so they stay viable. His second thought was that they could raise money to give gift cards to health-care workers so they could order themselves free lunches with Uber eats or whatever. His third thought was: "Could we somehow get food directly to frontline workers so they have one less thing to worry about?" -Carl Coryel-Martin
I know there are many others making lists of wonderful works of great sacrifice, generosity, and innovation, too. Great! Let's all come up with a list and help to bring a small ray of sunshine and hope to this crisis.
In tough times lists of gratitude have helped me. So I am looking for the Meaningful Acts around us to appreciate. I hope you are, too. It's good for the soul. We are all in this together and we need each other. Please shine a light on others' meaningful acts. Please contribute your own in your daily activity. My mother, my sister and that seven-month pregnant nurse need them.