Tuesday, March 23, 2021

What I Learned

 A year and a week ago we returned home from England.  Three years ago we met Brian for the first time. He is my grandpa's nephew but Grandpa never knew him. Never knew Brian's father, his brother.  Adoption can do that to families, this story starts in 1905, and searching for family through Ancestry.com can bring families back together.  We fell in love with Brian immediately.  Never have we met someone who we both instantly connected with and didn't want to leave.   So, last year we went back to Brian.  

Because we had the leadership we had here in the U.S. we didn't think this Covid thing was anything to be overly concerned about. Certainly not in the pandemic category.  But while we were there the world imploded.  England wasn't in a panic when we first arrived. Life was normal, subways were crowded, trains were peopled, stores, restaurants, pubs, theaters all open, crowded and normal.  We had our jet lag day of rest then left with Brian for Brussels for three days.  It was in those three days that all hell broke loose and we started to hear people talk, hear the phones ring in the hotel with cancellations, see empty restaurants, quiet streets.  Upon returning to Brian's home outside London we discovered we had to get out as soon as possible.  With his help - because he is far more tech savvy than we are - we found a flight home via Amsterdam.  Brian kept track of us all the way.  In Amsterdam I got an email message, "You made it to Amsterdam!  Good!  Flights are shutting down here"  in just a matter of hours.   When we arrived in Detroit I got another email, "You made it home!  Good!  Delta has pulled out of London!"  All in one day.

We were so relieved to be in Michigan again, when we deplaned I said I now understood why the astronauts kiss the earth when they return.  But, oh, we were so sad.  So lonesome for Brian. We counter that by talking about him every single day.  Open a bottle of wine? Toast Brian. Tink.

We returned to absolute silence.  No cars, no stores open, empty expressways, no school buses, no sound anywhere because everyone was hunkered down, hiding for what we thought would be two weeks. We were ok with that because having arrived from England we were ordered to stay quarantined for 14 days.  Surely this would be enough?  We walked in the cemetery across the street for fresh air and exercise.

But those two weeks became a year.  And this is what I learned.


I learned that I am grateful and lucky. I always knew it but now I know it.  We are retired.  We didn't have to worry about a paycheck or losing our jobs or homes because we couldn't pay for them.  We knew where our next check was coming from, and it did, regularly.  We had good food to eat, we had a view out the windows, we have a warm home, we have a home.  

I learned that wearing a mask isn't a big deal and in the winter actually keeps my face warm.  I learned that it's a very small price to pay to protect myself and the people around me so this stupid virus doesn't continue to spread.  What I don't understand is the people who refuse to mask are also the ones condemning the shutdowns.  Do they not understand the dot-to-dot?

I learned I have very little patience peopling with people who don't or won't do the simple little thing of wearing a mask to keep each other safe.  I was sad to learn how so very many of those people are so selfish. Up until now I knew selfish was out there but didn't know how many were out there. Now I do and that makes me sad.  But a lesson learned.  I can be stubborn, too. 

I learned that I am not fond of Zoom birthdays with grand kids - I know how fast time goes and don't want to miss one of theirs, but I also learned a Zoom birthday with the grand kids is better than nothing.  Conversely, I have come to love that Zoom is a way to see quilt friends in Australia and all over the world and Dodie in Florida and yes, Brian.  Don't you wish you knew and bought stock in Zoom?

I learned that sometimes when doing something for yourself you are unwittingly doing something kind for someone else, filling their need.  And dammit, right now, kindness DOES count.  We are seeing too much selfish and not enough kind.   

I learned that being away from people for so long, it's an adjustment to be around them again.  For a year it's been PH and me and we know each other well enough after 47 years to know when to get out of each other's way.  But I also know that after years of working and kids and working and kids we are here alone and have been for this year and if anything happens after this, well, we had this year together.

I learned not to take friends for granted because someday someone could take them away - for a year. I spent time this year keeping in touch.

 We haven't been inside a restaurant, movie, anyone's home nor they in ours. Cancelled were birthdays and holidays and quilt retreats, festivals and concerts. We don't have small children to educate at home while balancing our work lap top on our laps, and we don't have loved ones in nursing homes and none of us got sick because we were hyper careful. I learned that even in these seemingly endless days the days do develop a rhythm and they pass, one after another. We are healthy, fed, housed, in touch, and I learned that we may not have everything we want but what we have is enough. And for that I am grateful and lucky. 


  1. Indeed, there is so much to be grateful ... nonetheless, I cannot wait for covid to be over with. Somehow, with so many stubborn people, I feel it may take way too long. I miss my family, I miss the small things. Looking forward to a future zoom meet with our Aussie friends. Cheers!

  2. If only the selfish people could learn and appreciate like you do.

  3. Well said. It's been a long year but I too am grateful, my family and I are well, no one has lost their job and soon we will all be vaccinated. I always try to be kind. It costs nothing and at the very least makes me feel better.

  4. Kindness and gratitude "trump" selfishness any day. This is a great retrospective post.
    I do look forward to zooming with the Aussie quilters, and others around the world.

  5. What a great post to read Denice...
    Yes we have much to be grateful for ..

  6. Oh my word! Sooooooo beautiful, dear Friend! A joy to read ...

  7. That is a really lovely recount of the past 12 months and so heart felt. Hugs to you

  8. just love how you have put the words together in the post.....we really have been so fortunate here in Australia but covid has invaded everyones lives and changed most in some way......