Being in captivity ….

Mum entered the long term care home in June of 2020, during the coved pandemic.

This is hard to write, because there are many feelings and emotions fluttering in and out of my lungs. To say this year has been fraught with land mines and emotional roller coaster rides is a gross understatement.

We have all felt this I think. I should not generalize, so I will restate this previous statement.

We have been separated and isolated from spending time from the people that we love. In some cases for months at a time. We are told not to hug, and to social distance to 6’ apart. We are not supposed to hug or kiss our people for fear of passing along this pandemic to others, and compromising others lives. There is no under abundance of fear. It seems to be every place we look. Peoples’ eyes look troubled, and their brows crease with concern a great deal. It is increasingly quiet in stores. It’s almost like music has stopped too. I would welcome elevator music and Christmas songs… some cheer would be good. Music is so helpful, and maybe, a flash mob of dancers wearing masks would begin, and encourage people to breathe out again, and brighten their outlooks… and dance.. from a safe place… but have cause for celebration once more.

My Mum has had more coved tests then I have fingers on my hands, and I have 10 of those. She has been quarantined, and isolated, endured two surgeries, during this pandemic, and declined much more quickly in ways I never saw coming. It’s been difficult to witness, especially from afar. I know many have had their parents and people die, and have been unable to give them the send off that they desired.

There have been humans that have lost jobs, had their possessions taken , their businesses looted, and also lost their lives during this pandemic. People are anxious, and on edge, losing hope in lots of instances.

Suicides are massively increasing, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

Our smiles are hidden from the world with masks that are meant to keep us safe from coved, but are they stealing our humanity, our joy, our hope? We are so separated and untrusting of one another.

Gatherings are discouraged, and the sharing together of meals.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. There are freezers full of frozen turkeys at the grocery stores, bags of stuffing, and canned pumpkins and marshmallows line the shelves.

Just in case anyone was wondering, there are also scads of toilet paper and paper towel. This is just a service announcement in case any were in doubt .

There are decals all over the floors indicating where to stand, and how to proceed down the isles. Most are one way. Why am I always going in the opposite direction? Yes I’m that person.

When the door says “Push” I pull, and when searching for the parking spot, I consistently am driving the incorrect way of the arrow, and I never realize it until I meet the angry gaze of the person going the right way coming towards me. I do want to touch the sign that says, “ wet paint” just to see if it’s really that wet. Am I alone in this confusion?

The thing is, I am not doing this on purpose to be annoying. I am trying to follow the rules, but I also question, and am curious about my surroundings, it’s just the way I was constructed.

There are so many new rules out there. It feels like we are all back in school, and often being reprimanded from the other side of the desk facing the principal.

I didn’t make it to the principal’s office too many times in grade school, but there were occasions.

I remember especially this one hot tempered man, the school principal, with bright red copper hair and matching beard, who was on the rather rotund size, and carried himself with great authority. His eyes were a piercing blue, it’s almost as if I’m describing “ Eric the Red.” I may or may not still have had a nightmare about him from time to time.

I can’t recall why I was in his office, but it probably involved me being a bully, or drawing graffiti on school property, or that time, I was riding on a swing with a boy I liked named Paul, and the swing broke. Paul went plummeting to the earth, and I held tight to the dangling chains of the swing. If I were to hazard a guess there may have been more visits to” Eric the Red’s” office than I had previously thought, but I knew I never wanted to end up there again. He was scary and unnerving.

I was impacted by my visit, and did change my ways. I think I was in 5th grade at the time, so I might have been 10 or 11 years old. Apparently I needed to be schooled, and shown that my actions would not be tolerated going forward. Message received..

I have known several principals since then who are my friends. They don’t seem scary or intimidating at all, just lovely and wonderful specimens of people, with terrific sense of humors, and a genuine love for kids.

However, I’ve not met them on their turf, and seen them in action within their school walls. I am imagining that they command respect, and have no doubt that they are excellent ambassadors for their schools, and those they are watching over . Such an important position, overseeing the youth of today, and educating them to meet their futures. I can’t imagine the challenges right now in our schools. Some kids are in school, some are at home.

I’ve been hanging out with my 16 year old niece. She is home schooling her daughter at present, because kids are being kept home in the state where she lives. This is a very challenging time for her. She misses being in school, and making new friends. There is a lot of isolation, and on various occasions, her younger brother is making her feel insane.

I told her that seemed just about right timing, as younger teenage brothers tend to irk us and get under our skin. There is the added annoyance now that she has to spend more time with him at home, when under normal circumstances she would be at school, as would he.

Families have been out of necessity spending more time together, and perhaps a resurgence of gathering around the dinner table, and maybe prayer, and card games, and puzzles , and communication has been happening.

That would be a pretty powerful antidote to what the enemy of this pandemic is doing, if increased family time is occurring. This could be very good.

Reconnection of family values that had been put on the back burner, perhaps not on purpose, but just because there was so much busy ness happening before was a thing. There was school, and sports, and music and dance lessons, and travel, and now we are doing nuclear family again during this pandemic. This could be an unexpected blessing. I know there are lots of other very hard issues going on too. Couples spending too much time together are deciding to divorce now. So many unintended casualties of the pandemic are surfacing.

Some may be learning new skills in the kitchen, dreaming new dreams, and taking up hobbies that there wasn’t time for before. Creative genius could be occurring right now in some obscure home within your proximity.

I was out walking a few days ago during a showing for the house that is for sale here in Oregon.

It was about 4:45 pm. It was an overcast day, and the light was starting to fade. I’ve been walking daily while I’m here, and I periodically run into several others along the neighborhood streets. Usually I walk in the am, but the past few days, I’ve walked later because it gave me something to do during showings, and made me exercise which is always a perk.

I was only a few houses away when a local police car pulled over, and proceeded to put his window down.

I walked into the street, and he spoke, as I leaned closer, “ what are you doing?”

I didn’t expect that question. For some reason I thought he maybe was gonna ask me for directions.

I must have looked bewildered, because he then stated,

“ Well somebody meeting your description with grey leggings and a blue coat, and blonde hair was called in about. “

I retorted with,

“ really, I’m just out walking, while the house showings are going on, trying to keep out of the way of the potential buyers.”

The officer said” where you walking the last few days at this time?”

“ yes, I sure was.”

He said, “ someone called to say that you were a suspicious character, and thought that you were casing peoples’ houses and stealing packages.”

I was baffled, and responded with, “ uh no, just walking.”

What was suspicious to me is that I was caught wearing the same grey leggings a few days in a row. The gig is up, I’m found out to be behind in my laundry. How embarrassing.

He thanked me for my time, and was very polite and respectable.

I asked,” did my neighbor call this in?”

“ No, it was from someone down this direction,” and he gestured the other way down the street.

On a positive note, he was rather a handsome looking law enforcement person, so that was a plus.

I have a sneaking suspicious that it was my neighbor whom I have written about before. Let’s just say she’s not a happy soul, but rather sees herself as the neighborhood watch, and her countenance is the opposite of Miss. Congeniality.

I came back into the house, no stolen packages under my arms, and flopped onto the couch. I was quite shocked, and irritated too. Being wrongfully accused doesn’t sit right. It stirs up lots of emotions, and I was tempted to shout out the side window, “ mind your own business”… but I didn’t …

People are suspicious and nervous and anxious. Apparently just walking throughout the streets where you have walked the last few weeks spells looking for trouble with some observers.

Circumstances can feel dark, and uncertain, and they are.

We, in our household here in Oregon are praying for this household to sell, for many reasons. We have been praying for months. Have our prayers not been heard, our cries falling on deaf ears? I’m not going to say, I haven’t wondered about what is going on. We had a sale fall through last week. I felt defeated. It was depressing. My son and I were very down about it. I felt like crawling into my bed and giving up.

Instead, the prayers increased. I asked friends to continue to send them up like firefly lights in the night sky.

This reminded me of a favorite song that was so impactful all over me when my Mum was sick over 10 years ago, and was diagnosed with cancer. It’s called “ Light up the sky “ by The Afters.

When we pray I picture lights like beacons soaring up into the heavens, and lighting up the skies like fireworks in the night sky.

If ever there was a time to pray, this is it.. I do believe our prayers are heard. I do believe in hope, when I see lots of despair and disappointment surrounding.. it’s a call to prayer. The time is now. Our world needs it.

9 thoughts on “Being in captivity ….

  1. Thats for sure Jill, keep on offering up praise, and if u need even more of a lift I can send u more videos of your dear, sweet mother, “singing her heart out” in Smith Falls! I think and pray for her so often, and my prayer always ends with a smile! xo


  2. Hi Shannon:
    I would love to see more photos of my Mum Singing.. I should look back through your messages. I bet I can still find them.. You are so kind… Did you know that Holly is shipping her pickles? I’m not sure that she can ship to Canada though?


  3. Hi , are you available, I would love to go for a walk with you, if I walk with you, you will look less suspicious?:) Janelle Newman


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