The Unwanted Guest

Attempts to Crash the Party

The guest list is complete. The flowers are ordered. The dinner has been selected. Exactly four weeks and three days from today, is my Mother’s 100th Birthday. Everything is in order and considering we started the planning one year ago, it should be. The trouble is, we have an unwanted guest trying to crash the party. You all know who it is, as it may already have disrupted some of your plans.  Covid-19, is the name, and since it went viral, it has wrecked  havoc in many people’s lives.

We all live with uncertainty everyday but this is uncertainty with a twist. We don’t know a lot about where Covid-19 is going next. It is unpredictable and uncontrollable. We take precautions but we don’t want to panic. We ponder whether to get on that plane for our reunion or postpone until we have more certainty. One event after another is cancelled so we don’t want to be blaise about the risks nor do we want to over react.

Cleanest Hands Ever

We have never had cleaner hands than we have now. If anything, Covid-19 has ramped up our personal hygiene practices by instructing us in the best hand washing technique.  Who knew we were so lax but we’ve got this now. Keeping our hands off our face is another matter. Anyone who meditates knows it can be tricky to keep track of our breaths. Noticing how many times we touch our face in 30 minutes is an eye opener. Good grief. I seem to be always pushing back my hair. I lose count quickly and then forget to continue this attention exercise.

Each of us gets to decide how we approach this now officially named pandemic. Of course there are imposed restrictions that tell you what not to do if, x y or z apply.  There are restrictions imposed by airlines and government as to where we can and cannot go. Besides self-isolation there are imposed quarantines. This is new ground for many of us.

Social distancing

Social distancing is frequently appearing on the “what you can do” pages. This is critical for people with compromised immune systems and recommended for the elderly. (technically I fall into the elderly category but the <80 category. :-))  Yet, at a time when you could to use a little cheering up and if you happen to live alone, it is important to still have social contact. I find Wellspring Calgary’s advisory simple and useful:

The health and safety of our Wellspring Calgary community is of paramount importance to us. We kindly ask that you refrain from visiting Wellspring Calgary if you have any symptoms of cold or flu OR if you have visited any of the countries currently listed as under health advisories by the Government of Canada within the last 14 days. We appreciate your efforts to help promote the health and safety of Wellspring Calgary.

The same guidelines can apply to schools and work and bookclubs, until something more is required. Self-regulation and consideration go along way. Dr. Richard Friedman recently wrote an article in the New York Times. He called it “The Best Response to the Coronavirus? Altruism, Not Panic.”

At This Moment

So, as of today, my Mother’s party is intact. All the invited guests have been gently reminded that they may choose not to fly across the country. It isn’t panicking to not want to fly 5000KM at this time. And if all goes well, for those trying to attend, several domestic flights will take off from a variety of places and land in Victoria, Easter week-end.  Let’s face it, we have no idea what will happen in the next 4 weeks but we will take it day by day. In the case of uncertainty we do the best that way.

Not everyone I know even has this luxury. A good friend, has a 94 year old Mother in rapidly declining health. She is in a long term care facility, and visits from the outside are highly restricted. My friend is not permitted to stay with her Mom. There are many heartbreaking scenarios that people everywhere are coping with.

And for all of us who have plans up in the air, disappointments, concerns about friends and family, it is even more important to do a few things everyday that we do have control over.

Take a tip from Goethe:

One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.

We do what needs to be done, or we don’t. That is hardly a profound statement. But if your holiday was cancelled and your housebound,  this can be a time, along with what needs to be done, to let go of things that don’t serve us anymore, whether it is 20 year old tax returns, or clothes we have outgrown. It may be time to write a few letters to old friends who you have lost touch with but who have been important to you. Maybe get that paintbrush out and re-examine your interest in watercolour. Creating beauty, in any form everyday is good medicine. Taking a walk, when that is possible. Calling a friend to just say hi. Re-considering priorities.

What doesn’t work is fretting and frittering away our precious hours and days, reading and viewing one more update.  As Pema says “Let there be room for not knowing.” And in addition, as Trudy says, check your most trustworthy sites once or twice a day and act accordingly.

“We are quick to forget that just being alive is an extraordinary piece of good luck, a remote event, a chance occurrence of monstrous proportions. Nicholas Nassim Taleb



Note 1:) A Poem –

Yes – William Stafford

It could happen any time, tornado,
earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen.
Or sunshine, love, salvation.

It could, you know. That’s why we wake
and look out — no guarantees
in this life.

But some bonuses, like morning,
like right now, like noon,
like evening.

Note 2:) The longer I live the more I recognize that my life, in many ways, is a total mystery to me.

Note 3:) Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kind words and thoughtful questions that come my way. May you be as healthy as you can and have many delightful and surprising moments of joy. Warm greetings to you all, Trudy




9 replies
  1. Yoshie
    Yoshie says:

    Oh, Trudy. You give my uncertain condition of mind a certain tip to cope with it. Thank you so much. Around me, events, meetings and classes have been cancelled, but I am most sorry for Eileen’s birthday. Hope it will turn better. Thank you for a beautiful poem which I need very much at this time. I will do what I can do putting my feeling aside.

    • Trudy
      Trudy says:

      Hi Yoshie: thanks for stopping by. I am very aware of how difficult it is in Japan right now. Words are so laden with significance at these times and I wish I had something useful
      to write here. I will say thanks for your kindness and good luck with all that is to come. Take heart. We will prevail.

  2. Sabine
    Sabine says:

    May your party be a great event for all of you. Good health and greetings from an unknown person to your mother, who lives a life full of “YES”:-)
    Big hug to you!

    • Trudy
      Trudy says:

      Ah Sabine: you must have read an article that I wrote about my Mother to know about all those “yes’s”. And YES sums her up. Thanks for your greetings.

  3. Janice
    Janice says:

    No guarantees but this moment, right now, morning, noon and evening. Perhaps this new uncertainty will help us to better appreciate what we have in each moment. I trust that the celebration for your Mom will be joyful whether in person or for some, in spirit. much love Trudy xoxo

  4. Mary mcininch
    Mary mcininch says:

    Thankyou Trudy for your gift of “Yes” today. Wise words in the midst of the storm. Best of luck with the party.

  5. Nancy Jo Bleier
    Nancy Jo Bleier says:

    Happy Birthday to your Mother and hopefully guests! She’ll turn 100 with or without everyone!
    Yesterday I cancelled all my trips arrangements to go see my mother (95) who moved into an Assisted Living Facility in January. All visitors are being stopped there so it didn’t make any sense to fly from Alaska to New Mexico (thru Seattle). I observed how the emotions came on – relief, sadness and “oh good I can keep working on that quilt for my brother”. Take care, Trudy….


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