A Heartfelt Plea

Remember when you were 15 or 16 and you’d just gotten your driver’s license?  Remember the first time you took the car out without one of your parents being with you?  You may or may not have been nervous, but your parents were scared half to death!  We knew all the risks, all the things that could happen, but … you had to grow, you needed your autonomy … so we bit our tongues, worried ‘til we saw the headlights when you came home later, and let you fly free (relatively).  We trusted you (mostly) to make wise decisions, to do the right thing.

Now, we are asking the same of you.  We are asking you to respect our autonomy, our ability to make our own wise decisions.  While we know you love us, know you will worry, we need to decide for ourselves during these dangerous times what level of risk is acceptable.  Think about it for a moment … we all risk our lives multiple times every day from the time we get out of bed.  We could fall down the stairs, could have a heart attack or stroke without warning, could get hit by a truck on our way to the grocery, and the list is endless.

Yes, the coronavirus pandemic is dangerous, and I do not minimize that.  But I would like to give you something else to think about.  Older people, especially those who live alone, are prone to loneliness and depression.  We worked hard all our lives, had friends we socialized with, had … purpose.  And now, suddenly, you are telling us that you want us to stay confined to quarters.  Some may be satisfied with this arrangement, but I think most of us are not.

One thing I’d like you to remember is that our emotional health is every bit as important as our physical health, and in fact one almost always affects the other.  We greatly appreciate your offer to do our grocery shopping for us, but … we like to select our own celery and chicken legs.  Some of us thrive on that briefly exchanged smile with the man stocking the apples, and the short, “Hey, how ya doin’?”  We don’t just like that … we need it.

There is a difference between being alive and living.  After all these years of hard work, of raising our families, we feel that if there is no joy in life, then … why bother?  We feel we’ve earned the right to be respected, to be trusted to make our own decisions, and it is deeply disturbing when we are told what we must do, no matter how well-meaning the intent is.

The reality is that nobody knows how long the threat of the coronavirus will last.  I’ve heard that it might be August, I’ve even heard that it could last into next year.  Now, if you tell us that we must stay in our homes for 2-3 weeks, that’s one thing.  But you can’t do that, for you just don’t know how long it may be.  Keep in mind that our days are numbered anyway, that some of us wake every morning and say, “Wow … another one?”  Most of us don’t expect nor desire to live to 100.  Yes, we know you’d like to keep us around that long, but really, once we aren’t living our lives, but merely existing, then … why bother?

My own daughter and I had this conversation many years ago, under similar but different circumstances, and while I’m sure she sometimes bites her tongue, she does understand and respects my autonomy.  But I have seen too many friends these past two weeks having their autonomy, their joy taken from them by those who would wrap them into a plastic bubble to preserve their health … at the cost of their emotional well-being.

We’re not asking to go run a marathon, or snuggle up with a group of 100 people — we’re only asking that you let us live — take a walk, go to the grocery store, maybe even visit the library or bookshop (if they’re even open), or visit a neighbor for a cuppa coffee.  By all means, if you hear me say I’m going to go skydiving, though, please feel free to stop me!  But seriously, we’ve lost so much of our ability already to do things we enjoy — we are hampered by arthritis and other physical limitations — don’t take any more away from us.

Most of us will likely survive this, but I’m not sure what sort of world we’ll step back into at the end of the day.  I just read something a friend sent where scientists are predicting it could last up to 18 months.  Will there be a world left to come out into?  How many decades will it take to rebuild global economies?  I don’t know … nobody knows.  I only know that today I am alive, and I wish to live my life … not as others dictate, but in the manner that I see fit. I’ve earned that right. I know you all have the best of intentions and what you do is done out of love … please love us enough to let us decide how we will live these next days/weeks/months. Thank you.

46 thoughts on “A Heartfelt Plea

  1. Hello Jill, we love you and only want to keep you safe and happy. Yes we’re all social creatures and can’t survive in isolation. Just be sensible and avoid large crowds, I’m sure visiting friends or having them over for coffee is fine. Movie or game night is also a good idea so long as everyone is healthy and tested.
    My only suggestion to you is (if possible) to please cut down on smoking for the time being. As you know, the virus is extremely dangerous to elderly with compromised immune and respiratory function. Most of the ppl who died in Wuhan are elderly in their 70s & 80s and smoked.
    Of course you have free will, a sovereign human being. I would never tell anyone what to do, but I can provide facts so you can make an informed decision. What you choose to do is of course totally up to you.
    Please keep in mind that we all care for you and wish you a long and happy life, we’re selfish that way!
    Much love and power to you and yours, we will survive this together. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have spent this morning connecting with people that I know are in self isolation and living alone. I want to be there for them if they feel lonely even if I can’t visit.

    I have set up a WhatsApp group for my family to communicate daily… Just a few lines of update from each, that we can all read to know how folk are doing. We are all spread apart so much.

    The thing is, we can only battle this thing when we all pull together and just do what is necessary.

    I have friends who are tackling this a bit like you Jill. They don’t want to be isolated, but she is over 70, has some health issues and is allergic to a lot of medications. He just told me that they are going out tonight for a curry at the local Indian restaurant. They are indulging in risky behaviour. I could only make a joke about wiping the cutlery with alcohol before eating. They both seem to think that they are healthy and they will not get COVID19. They are entitled to put themselves in that position of risk, but then they will pass it on to others and that is willful and selfish. In Britain all the restaurants can operate as takeaways… That is a much safer option.

    Everyone, please be kind, and try to see this less as losing your ‘rights’ and more as protecting your friends and family! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • My friends have not gone out as all restaurants bars and social places are closed. They are angry. Anger serves no purpose. We need to come together, not rant because someone else has said we have no choice if everyone is to be protected. This is a big test for our compassion. We can do this. I am sure of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Its…going to have to be a compromise. I need to shop, so I’m doing it carefully and keeping as much distance from others as possible. I need to exercise, so I’m going to open spaces, away from others. For socialising – the phone, the email, text and Skype. As far as possible I am avoiding contact with others not just for my own safety, but I might already have been infected and I don’t want to pass it to anyone. Even the healthy young person I stop to talk to might be living with a vulnerable older relative.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Sorry Jill, totally disagree with you on this one. Our respective governments were asleep at the wheel when they should have been gearing our countries up to test, test, test. Instead, neither they, nor we, know if there are any safe spots or safe people. And that means we have to assume that nowhere and no-one is ‘safe’ at the moment.

    In such circumstances, the only weapon left is to isolate those most at risk of dying from Covid-19. My Offspring is one such person. We have been self-isolating for almost two weeks now, but prescriptions still have to be filled, food still has to be bought – in person because food distribution here is overwhelmed.

    As the one with the least to fear in term of illness, I’m the one forced to venture out. I have a mask and stay as far from everyone as possible, but as many carriers of Covid-19 are asymptomatic, or only have very mild symptoms, I do not know which person has the potential to infect /me/. As a result, each trip outside raises the possibility that I may bring a potentially fatal disease home with me.

    Everyone with any kind of immune disorder or heart diseae or cancer or a million and one underlying health conditions is totally at the mercy of the general public. That’s an awful lot of people worldwide, all depending on the kindness and generosity of strangers.

    If the US and Australia go the way of Italy, there won’t be room at the inn for those patients with a reduced likelihood of survival.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Awww … my friend … I fear I did not make my purpose clear. I don’t deny that our governments have made a shambles of it all, nor do I deny the seriousness of the pandemic. I think that our world, once we emerge from this, will be something very different than what we once knew. My point … my ONLY point … was that each of us has autonomy over what we determine is the balance between ‘acceptable risk’ and our health. I cannot … will not … hibernate in closed quarters throughout the summer. If others are willing to, that is fine, as long as it is their own choice, not one made for them by either well-meaning family or the bungling boobs in our respective governments. To me … life is about living, and sitting indoors all day being scared to go out … that’s not living. But, I realize that others feel differently, feel that health and well-being is everything. I respect and support that … my only point being … it is YOUR choice, nobody else’s. Find your balance, but don’t allow others to tell you what you must or must not do. Hugs!

      Liked by 3 people

      • Not even when others’ lives are at stake? What about social responsibility? The Italians apparently kept on socialising and spreading the virus. Sure, their choice, but the people who died because there were not enough ICU beds or ventilators, what choice did they have? And now they’re dead. Carted away in army trucks. No funerals with friends and family coz it’s too dangerous. Surely once in a life time, the right to live trumps the right to choice and freedom?

        Liked by 2 people

    • Well, no, I’m not bringing it home, for I am fastidious in sanitizing, wash my hands in hot water and anti-bacterial when I return home, and wipe down anything I bring in with me. Remember, however, what my daughter does for a living … I don’t take chances with the lives of others, but … if I cannot live life, then what is the point? The alternative is unacceptable. We have talked about this, and I think we are of like minds.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I agree with your point on autonomy. But it also works the other way around. It looks as if the next presidential election is going to be a contest between two old geezers. Isn’t it time for we older folk to step aside and allow the next generation to have some say in running the country?

    Liked by 3 people

    • I fully agree on the need for a younger person at the helm of this ship, but … it’s not going to be our choice this time around, I think. My best hope is that Biden chooses either Kamala Harris or Stacey Abrams for his running mate, and if he keels over one day, we will have a woman, a minority, and a younger person all wrapped into one for our president! Not, mind you, that I’m hoping for anything to happen to Biden, for I’m not.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Jill, being unprepared for the pandemic is similar to a city council cutting funding for social workers, making one social worker support 160 clients rather than the preferred 16. When something bad happens, the city council asks the director of social work, how could you let this happen? The US cuts a key pandemic planning group, it ignores briefings of the coronavirus threat, and the president disinforms people saying virus, what virus?

    This need not have happened this way. We are leas like South Korea who jumped on this. The everyday president sounds better, but still should not be trusted as a source.

    As for isolated seniors, we need to find ways of reaching out, being outside and engaging each other. There are many good stories of youth reaching out as well, Roger likes to point out we have survived bigger fools and obstacles. Keith

    Liked by 4 people

      • Jill, your last comment is not a surprise, but still makes you shake your head. Almost everything the president says or does is easily traceable to his fragile ego.

        Being an accountant, you may recall a recent president of Brazil is in jail because she ordered the fudging of numbers to make her regime look good. I fully expect the president will try to stoop that low. Mulvaney has already been sloppy with the budget ptojections double counting projected good news when he was head of the Budget office. Keith

        Liked by 2 people

        • Yes, I fully agree. My biggest concern is … we know of some things that are being kept largely out of the public eye, but what else is going on behind the curtain that nobody knows yet?


  7. well said, Jill. Let’s hope it is shorter than what some are saying. Some good news out of China – no new cases, and Starbucks is reopening their stores there. And that is after slightly less than three months of trying to stop the spread of the virus.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, two days in a row with no new cases in China is very encouraging! I’m with you … let’s hope it doesn’t fulfill the gloom ‘n doom predictions I’ve been hearing today of 18 months, food shortages, collapsed economies, etc.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I get it too. As you know, the Fella, my partner is older and has health issues. We are not in total lock down, so each day we still walk to the local coffee shop. I am weighing up the risks to us by doing this. However I think the careful contact with others is very important. I hope I am being sensible by taking our own cups (when I remember!) and sitting outside. So I understand about the need to get out, as well as the need to be able to make your own decisions. However, I have drawn the line at visiting with friends and family, so I am not sure about you visiting your neighbour for a cup of coffee.
    Your bigger point is a very pertinent one too. For how long can societies maintain lock downs? And the other question you ask is how long will we need press hard on the brake. Unfortunately we will only know the answers to these by living through it. The only sure answer is “Until we get a vaccine”.
    Stay well. ~hugs~

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks Anne! We all have to decide where that line is, and for each of us it will be different. Calculated risks … as I said, every time we get behind the wheel of our car, we are taking a risk, but … we don’t much think about it. We take precautions, wear our safety belts, keep our car well maintained, drive the speed limit (well, sometimes anyway 😉 ), but we still go. I’m getting more concerned about bigger things though, the more I think about it. Businesses that won’t be able to open back up ever, for they will be bankrupt. People losing their homes. Economies completely collapsing and being ripe for takeover by stronger ones. This could change to world map. Sigh. I think too much, yes?

      Liked by 2 people

      • I am thinking the very same things. Society will not be the same at the end of this, and it is already showing up the cracks and flaws. However, where we end up is not guaranteed. Maybe it will encourage people to live more lightly, not waste, build communities, to not be so intensely Me! Me! Me!🤞🏼

        Liked by 2 people

  9. Yes I agree, with Cyberspouse and his recent medical dramas our family have been brilliant sharing the pressure, but with them and the government I feel like I have suddenly been booted into the role of elderly parent!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh that’s not good! I’m glad they’ve been there to help out, but … ‘help’ is the key word. I think that younger people see us as … maybe not quite capable of doing our own thinking sometimes. Good luck … and keep safe, my friend, but not stifled.

      Liked by 3 people

  10. Hell yeah………. Jill! With you all the way
    Well here we are.
    And those living in Yemen, Syria to name but two took to us and say: ‘Yes….and your problem being?’
    And in the animal kingdom, a few creatures will look to us and say: ‘Hmm…danger every day. So what else is new?’
    Now pandemics. It wasn’t a question of IF it was a question of WHEN, this is part of the Life Cycle. Yep it’s not going to be fun. We in our comparatively (for most) comfy Western World have had it easy by world standards now it’s come ‘a knocking.
    We do the best we can, as we can, when we can, how we can.

    Liked by 5 people

  11. OK, I understand where everyone is with the consequences of COVID 19 and lock downs are hitting one country after another as this is played out.

    I feel that staying positive is our most powerful weapon. I registered for a series of time limited videos from Gaia and this is the second one on ‘Fear and Stress.’ It is available until March 26th (and will then go poof), but if you want the best advice to deal with all of this COVID 19 stuff, I cannot recommend this highly enough. Please watch it from beginning to end! It might just change your negativity into positivity and help you to heal should you contract Covid19 and have to fight off infection.


    Liked by 3 people

  12. I agree and accept that it’s tough to be “confined” … but I’m unable to see it through your eyes. Every time you mingle with people during this crisis, you are opening both yourself and them to the potentiality of infection.

    Certainly no one likes the idea of forced seclusion, but until we know more about how this virus is spread, why take chances? BTW, several sources have actually encouraged taking walks. Far better than the “cuppa coffee” with someone who could very well be (unknowingly) infected.

    There’s no argument that it’s going to be a VERY unpleasant time until this passes — or a cure is developed. But far worse is contracting the virus and …

    Liked by 7 people

    • I agree with Nan about seeing this through different eyes. To her ‘take,’ I would add that extroverts are undoubtedly more in need of not having their social life curtailed (even temporarily), whereas introverts don’t see this as causing UNNECESSARY hardship. Granted that there are probably more extroverts than introverts, the point is that we’re not all the same. Let’s think about that, make the best of it, and we’ll all get through this.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Well, really the only point of my post was that YOU make the decision for yourself, not that others dictate it to you. If you’re content to stay in, then that’s great, but it should be your own choice. Too many grown children are trying to take the choice out of their parents hands, and that just isn’t right. For me, I take precautions when I go out, but I do and will continue to go out, for I fear more sinking into a deep depression than I fear the virus. We’re all different, and that’s fine, but we’re adults and should be able to make our own choices.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. I’m also not willing to catastrophise into months years decades etc. We went to the grocery store and people turned away from each other and looked rather hunted, even in the crunchy-granola co-op, although the cashiers were the usual friendly. I guess we all have to make our own choices, but I think it’s only going to ruin the mental health to think in a way that snowballs weeks months years decades centuries. *shrug* Of course, everyone has the freedom to think what they want.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Dear Jill …. I hear you! It is tough, I am sure. Today the Dutch government declared that no more visitors are allowed in nursing homes etc. And I am sitting in the Netherlands, not being able to go to Austria to see my mum (at least not without being quarantined for 14 days). So yes, I feel it too.
    But let’s not talk about a year or 18 months. Let’s talk about 2 or 3 weeks at a time. Let’s try to give this “social distancing” a go for a couple of weeks. See if it there is a decline in infections. And then decide how to proceed further. No one wants to take your live away. This is a new situation. We don’t know what is going to happen. Let’s try not to panic and take it one step at a time.
    Stay healthy, my dear friend! Big hugs!

    Liked by 6 people

    • How terribly sad for those people stuck in nursing homes! I cannot even imagine how depressing it would be, not knowing when, or even if, you will see your loved ones again. And I’m so sorry that you cannot go see your mum … I know she must be missing you terribly. I think that 2-3 weeks is all most people will tolerate before things start happening … things that we don’t even want to think about … so yes, let’s take it one week at a time for now and see what happens. I would be more confident if we had a government with a real leader, but … alas. You take care too, dear Jeannie!!! Hugs ‘n love!

      Liked by 2 people

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