How we made it through


"These times are times that we've never seen before

Not in my lifetime,"

says my dad, now 82, from his Cathedral apartment . . .

I haven't seen him since this whole thing began

Because I could be the one . . . .

"I'm doin' 14 days now" he says, like he's doin' time in the old Western movies . . .

"It's difficult, but I do what I can.

"Tonight I have a meeting. I am connected on 'The Zoom' on my phone

I laugh . . . 'the zoom' . . . 

I don't like them very good," he says, "but it's the best we can do."

 

"I was just talking to myself", she said as she answered the phone.  

"I've got a sore stomach. If I survive this . . . 

"If I don't, I won't have to worry about it."

She laughed.  

My mom, born in '38, hasn't left her house since the news broke

That we weren't safe.

That something she couldn't see could take her precious life.

 Her memories. Her life yet to be lived. 

"This is really really bad. I never thought I would live to see something like this.

We had hard times on the farm. No refrigeration. No electricity. 

Mom and dad managed to supply us with all the food and all the meat. I don't know. This is crazy.

She wonders if we've gone too far, but she stays inside, afraid that it might somehow find her, 

Through a simple touch that before she wouldn't have cared about. 

She might be the one.  

To become a statistic in the COVID19 path. 

 

We facetimed with our grandbabies the other night . . .

Rafey just learned to call me grandma, but he's happy,

because his baby soul is free and innocent of worry. 

He won't remember the time life stood still, and we became afraid.

 

Six year old Ronan feels the weight of the world.

School is cancelled until further notice to stop the virus. 

He sees his friends outside, but they could be toxic. or he could be the one. 

So he watches them from his bedroom window. 

I see the sadness on his face on my phone screen - the only way it's safe to see him. 

But I can't hold them.  Dance with them.  Watch them discover.

 

We stand still, for a while longer, but we don't know for how long.

Yesterday I went to my store, even though it's closed. I danced, I cried.  

I even laughed out loud.

Until I realized the door isn’t going to open because it can't. 

Because we're non essential. We just sell shoes.  

And we could be the one . . .

 

And then I feel grateful that I am safe.

That I have the choice to be safe.

And now my job is to make others safe too

We all do  . . . to stay inside and wait for this thing to ride out

into the night.

Until some day it's a memory

That my parents will live to talk about  . . .

That my grandchildren will tell theirs 

About that time the world stopped turning and for a time we stayed inside

Because something we couldn't see or hear or feel

came for us.

And we made it through.

 

Lynn Armstrong 

#covid19 #zoesshoes_poetry #thewalkmatters