BREATHE IN, BREATHE OUT
Besides paying your taxes—which, by the way, are not due now until July 15th, the most basic thing you have to do is simply breathe.
You’re already doing it, so why not just breathe in a little deeper each time. If you are stressed, it will help you relax. And with each breath in and out, send up a prayer of thanks that you can breathe. Because as you know, many people in the world are struggling to do just that.
I am trying to peel myself away from News TV. The story is ever-changing, so it keeps me hooked. The numbers keep going up, and the drama continues to unfold. As most of us are, I am home, following the directives to keep myself and everyone else healthy. This gives me plenty of time to watch TV—but I’m trying to stay away from the news negativity.
As I do in all challenging times, I turn to my sisters for help and support, as well as a sense of humor. They are never short on that. Because I believe that laughter is the best medicine, I am printing their text thread that arrived on my phone when I asked them their advice I could share with you all. Here goes, edited a bit for cleanliness:
Gail: “Don’t worry, drink plenty of water and alcohol. Maybe use essential oils to stay well.”
Suzanne: “When God’s ready for you, there’s nothing you can do.”
Gail: “Don’t take shit from anybody.”
Suzanne: “Literally, it might have the coronavirus in it.”
Gail: “There’s nothing wrong with doing nothing.” (Gail, is that really you?!)
Suzanne: “That’s my plan. But then again, doing nothing has been my plan for quite some time now.”
Gail: “Good answer Suzanne on both parts!”
Suzanne: “At least I found someone willing to pay me for doing nothing. #stateofkansas”
Gail: “Put one foot in front of the other when you walk.”
Suzanne: “Another tip: stop buying everything!”
Gail: “Gargle, rinse, repeat.” and “Sunshine, sweet sunshine.”
Suzanne: “Live, laugh, love. I fu*#ing hate that saying.”
Gail: “A bird in the hand rather than in the bush.”
Suzanne: “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”
Gail: “Don’t stop believing.”
Suzanne: “Hold on to that feeeeeeling!”
Gail: “Use half as much toilet paper as usual.”
And with that perfect prescription, the thread was done.
While they were offering their wisdom, another acquaintance of mine texted to check in on us. “Henry” is a 73-year old man I have the privilege of calling my friend. He and his 70-year old wife are hunkered down, doing all they can to stay healthy. He survived Vietnam, then a debilitating illness that had him on his deathbed, and now he faces every day with a progressive neurological disorder. Still, he finds a way to laugh. He told me he was looking forward to my blog, and so I asked him for his advice. He didn’t hesitate.
“My advice on how to make it thru this pandemic is to avoid crowds, rest, eat right, and have faith. If that doesn’t work, get shit-faced drunk, and say f*** this crap. Daily sex is optional unless you are old and want to go out of this world while in the saddle.”
I’ve got nothing to add to that.
I have featured this picture before, but it bears re-posting, because, now more than ever, it is so true.
Our mom collected quotes, clippings and calendar pages in this box. Our writer/editor sister-in-law graciously compiled them into a book for each of us, aptly titling it “Liz-isms.” Gail posted one of her quotes last week on Facebook; it now has heightened meaning:
I found many more meaningful quotes in “Liz-isms, and here’s another good one:
Didn’t I tell you in the first paragraph to just breathe? It’s timeless advice from Mom, too.
In case you haven’t noticed, our family uses humor to get through tough situations. I’m pretty sure we were making jokes before and after our parents’ funeral. It’s how we got through. And through is the magic word here.
We didn’t get over it, didn’t get around it. We got through it. Just like we will get through this international crisis. And we will all be better people for it, just like our family is now are after facing our loss.
If our family had been warned what was headed our way before it hit, I know that for myself, I would have folded. No way, I would have thought. No way that could ever happen, and, if it did, no way I will make it through.
But it did happen, and I did make it through. Everyone in our family did. And all of us will make it through this crisis. And we will be stronger. We don’t want to be stronger, we don’t want to learn this hard lesson, but have no choice. We were warned in stages, but I don’t think any of us would have dreamed it would come to this just a few short weeks ago, which now seems like a whole other lifetime ago.
Our lives after Mom and Dad died changed, never to go back to the blessed Before. I recall a bit of advice that came to mind many times as I navigated through the strange new world I found myself in during the days, weeks and months after our loss. It was this: You will be okay. It won’t be the old okay you once knew and so desperately want back, but you will be okay. You don’t yet know what the new okay will look, feel or smell like, but you will be okay.
And I was okay. And in the new world that we don’t yet know, all of us will be okay, too. With some grace, we may even be able to say that we are better, stronger people for surviving this crisis. Perhaps, with even more grace, we can, in time, say that we learned to appreciate the small things (like toilet paper), and let go of things that used to stress us out, but now are seen in a different perspective. Those are the gifts I took away when so much was taken away from me.
I have now turned off News TV, and I am binge-watching funny movies today on TBS. Humor, along with following all the recommended precautions, will continue to be the best medicine for me. Perhaps, if you are showing no symptoms–and I hope you are not, it will be the best advice for you, too.
Enjoy this time of rest and relaxation. Mom gave us all permission, and so did Gail in her quoted text above.
My work as a medically-based speech/language pathologist has already begun to dwindle, and it likely will continue in that direction, as it should. I am a non-essential medical provider, and I need to get myself and my potential germs out of the way to decrease any chance of causing more harm than good.
I bow down to the essential medical providers who will be the true warriors in this war. They are in the trenches, and if they are not already engaged in combat, they are preparing to do so. God bless them, and all the other essential members of the workforce whose efforts we could not live without. For the rest of us, getting out of their way is our job.
And to the parents who, without signing up for it, are now home-school teachers. I’m not sure if I could have survived that if my children became my students. I don’t know if my children would have survived, either. May the Force be with them, because this likely won’t be over by May the Fourth.
Speaking of the Fourth, we celebrated—it took many years to be able to use the word celebrate—our parents’ lives on March Fourth this year, the day twelve years ago they died. We now call it March Forth. March Fourth. The only day of the year that tells us to do something. Given the strength we have found since that day, we continue to March Forth.
Because we have no choice, we will continue to march forth as a nation and as a planet.
And when we get through this crisis, and are living in our new world, we will all be okay. Mom said so.