Love in the Time of Covid

Hurt, hurting, imprisoned in bed, metal framework protruding from bone, in worry, in pain.

Weeks in concrete walls, fluorescent-light panel your only light and view.

Resolves to time at your childhood home, hospital bed in the back bedroom-

Finally a window bringing in sun, moving clouds and birdsong

But looking ahead at weeks of uncertainty and recuperation,

Damaged nerves zing down tender limbs

Will they ever bear weight again? Carry correct messages? Will bones really knit?

Long night hours spent in just holding off waking the loved one for the bedpan

Daytime drifts from disturbing dreams, teamed with bouts of boredom, laced through with sharp blades of panic

Holding on by a thread

Where are your friends, when you need them so much?

Well, the best ones, they come.

Through the small black box of a phone but also for real

But no one can enter the house! A ladder is put to the bedroom window

Sara leaves her baby twins and comes to climb up to the window to talk

She brings yoga pillows, pregnancy pillows, wiped and sanitary, to support the helpless body of her childhood friend

She brings alcohol wipes, to clean the ladder and windowsill for the next guest

Michelle comes with music and herbs, stands on the ladder for hours, pees in the bushes I guess

She is the best listener, quiet in the pauses, leaves openings for real fear to be expressed

She carries a box of medical gloves in her car, in case she is challenged by police for making an unnecessary excursion she will say she is delivering supplies; these are the early days of severe restriction and alarm

Bob comes from the house next door. He has known our patient all the 34 years since she was born.

At 79 he climbs the ladder, brings a book, a favorite biography

Day after day he reads, chapters interrupted with life stories from an elder activist to a younger

Perched on the ladder, shares laughter and also hope for her future,

A future of meaningful work, almost unimaginable

At these moments, imagined

Their act of climbing the ladder, the beloved faces appearing in the window

Change the days, change the year, bring

Sustenance.

We will always love you, Bob

9 thoughts on “Love in the Time of Covid

  1. What a beautiful story of how compassionate people can be, just when we need them. I read this and it makes my heart happy. Thank you for sharing this.

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  2. I am tearing up reading this, Fran. I cannot imagine what this felt like, but your words shine light to those who were there. The literal and figurative ladder climbed during that time will not be forgotten. Thank you for sharing this.

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  3. Fran,
    What beautiful, poignant writing. I am especially struck by this line “She is the best listener, quiet in the pauses, leaves openings for real fear to be expressed”. What terrible things happen, we are often unsure how to respond. You remind us that listening, sharing stories, simply being present (even on a ladder) is the best medicine. Thank you.

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  4. Wow! You capture the love of friends so well. Each offers what they can.
    All never let Emily feel she is alone – the most powerful gift.
    Fav. lines:
    A future of meaningful work, almost unimaginable / At these moments, imagined
    It captures just what was needed at this time.
    SO glad you capture this moment from almost a year ago.
    So glad you shared it here.

    Like

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