COVID-19 To Do List
I hope you are well and all whom you love are also well too. This is my standard greeting whether by phone, email, text or across online technology. In a time
of the COVID-19 pandemic across the world, a Wisconsin Shelter-in-Place order that began in March and now masks required in Dane County when outside of
our home, we need to be kind enough to genuinely enquire about each other’s well-being. When you add on the chaos of continuous deaths of Black people
by police, an increased number of murders due to gun violence and many Black children losing their lives due to drive-by shootings, mass protests and the
upcoming presidential election (with the all of the lying political ads), we need to protect our mental health and continuously monitor our “happiness” meter to
make sure it is functioning. We need to still laugh and certainly keep hope nurtured.
The first month of the Shelter-in-Place, I realized that I was fortunate to have a job that I could work from home, and I already had internet and all the tools to
continue doing my job. I already knew I was fortunate to have enough other resources like food, shelter and the ability to pay my bills. I tried to get to my South
Madison Library before they closed, to stack up on books by Black writers, but when I arrived at the library, they had already closed down. I was not going to
have a fresh supply of books to read for pleasure.
I worked a lot of hours, participated in a lot of community activities, had an active poetry life, a wonderful church ministry and spent a lot of hours outside of my
home. The first month sheltered-in-place was spent catching up on rest and getting the right number of sleep hours. I also had the time to talk to relatives and
friends I hadn’t communicated with in a long time. Getting in touch with missing family and friends meant first forgiving family and friends for real and
imagined hurts. I literally and spiritually “wiped the slate clean between us” and didn’t bring up the past because I decided to forgive. I am an introvert who
likes people, but also need solitude to write so I felt like there was going to be no problems with me staying at home. I was wrong.
By the second month, I was missing everyone, but I hadn’t figured out how to have safe contact with those friends who were maintaining healthy protocols.
Since I am a writer, I first started off with writing a Gratitude List. This Gratitude List started my happiness meter going because as I wrote what I am grateful for
in my life, it was a long list and it was an important reminder. I have looked back at this Gratitude List and added more items over the months. I became ill in
May and had to accept help to heal from my son, work colleagues and close others. The great news is that I am able to spend time with my adult son and see
up close what a fantastic man he is. He speeded up my recovery. My work supervisor has been wonderful. One friend came to my home and planted red and
yellow flowers. Another friend and her family planted my garden through Rooted at Badger Rock. I now get to water, weed and harvest vegetables. The flowers
and the garden are beneficial in keeping me happy. I go to church through my television every Sunday and there have been many other kindnesses.
Dear Folks, come up with your own special ways to stay healthy and happy. My ideas are yours to borrow; 1) Regular communication with family and friends, 2)
Forgiving family and friends, 3) Using technology to keep in touch, 4) Gratitude List, 5) Gardens, 6) Asking for help when you need it and 7) Keeping in touch
with your spiritual community. Your ideas might be better than mine so please share. We will not only survive 2020, we will still thrive in 2020.