Gabrielle Elise Jimenez
Trying to find a little joy amidst the chaos
I visited with a patient the other day while at the same time our world was in the midst of the Coronavirus crisis. Before heading in I started to put my facemask on. (I really hate those things). I sanitized my hands, and then sanitized them again for good measure. I dropped the bottle of hand sanitizer in my pocket… just in case. I checked to make sure I had two pairs of gloves within reach and I tightened the mask securely around my face. I know I was doing the right thing for her and for me, but at the same time all I could think was this is probably the very last thing she needed to see in her last days/weeks of her life.
This lovely eighty year old is someone I have seen a few times; we have grown quite close, and hugs are usually a given when I first walk through the door. I went in to hug her, she went in to hug me and we both stopped mid hug. For those few seconds when we realized a hug was no longer appropriate, we both felt sadness, a loss of connection, and a gap of space where only echoes could be heard. This made us both very sad.
This woman is dying, her days were already limited prior to the virus, and I was not about to take hugs away from her. So I decided to make it fun and suggested we create our own handshake… oops… I mean foot/elbow shake. We had so much fun making up moves, practicing, laughing and starting all over again. It went like this; left elbow, right elbow, knee, knee, knee. Heel toe, heel toe ... wee, wee, wee… and yes we said it just like that and raised our hands in the air for the “wee, wee, wee”. We practiced it over and over and over… we laughed and laughed and laughed. For those few moments nothing else mattered to either of us, not the scary virus, not even her own impending death. That moment mattered, right then and there when all that could be heard was laughter.
This is a very scary time for everyone, some more than others. People are dying, people are losing jobs, families fear for their future, and people are being greedy and selfish, hurtful and mean. Fear breeds the very worst of emotions and behaviors. I don’t assume laughter or kindness will solve our world crisis, but I do think it might soften things a little.
What if each one of us took a moment to check in on a neighbor, reached out to someone who might be scared, or alone. Someone who could not make it to the store and does not have 500 roles of toilet paper… perhaps only a few squares left on their very last roll. What if we shared with one another, supported one another, respected one another… and cared for each other while we push forward and get through this very scary time? The circle is stronger when we hold hands... or in this case... lock arms. Lets lock arms!!!
Places are being closed, events are being canceled, and cities are on lock down. But the telephones still work; check in on your loved ones, your friends, your families… let someone know they are being thought about and are not alone. Perhaps you might consider sharing your supplies with those who have none. Check with your neighbors and make sure they are okay.
And don't forget to... wash your hands!!! A lot!!!
If you are sick… get tested to make sure you and your families and neighbors are safe.
Be patient and kind with each other.
Please leave a few things on the shelves for others.
Most of all… think of a new and creative way to hug… don’t stop the hugs… everyone needs a hug… but for now we just gotta do it differently. xo