This isn’t normal… Part 2

I have been working from home for two whole months. As I mentioned in Part 1, there are a lot of things I don’t mind about working from home and staying in a lot more because of the COVID-19 restrictions, although there are things I miss. I am not alone, and I know this from reading articles about the positive habits people are cultivating during this odd time. From drinking more water, getting more sleep and more exercise, baking, and spending more time with family, some people are taking advantage of new opportunities for self-care. When life gives you lemons…
 

I am no different. I get to see my husband and my cats at different times during the day on my work breaks when I am not half awake or exhausted, which makes me smile. I’ve managed to lose a few pounds from eating what is available at home rather supplementing with whatever snacks I stop off for to get me through a stressful day. Most of days are less stressful simply without the commute. There is less of a feeling that we need to go somewhere or do something, only to get there and be disappoint or wishing we had stayed home.

The things that stress me now are what the future will look like. It’s hard to fathom going to a crowded restaurant, getting on a full plane, or grabbing food at a public place that has been touched and breathed on by other people. I realize this is controversial territory, especially in the midst of the everyone must wear a mask/masks are an infringement on my freedom argument that is raging throughout the United States right now. 

close up composition conceptual creativity
Photo by Pedro Figueras on Pexels.com

I know that this whole situation is experienced differently by each and every person. Some people have lost everything, be it a dream, a home, a business, the safety of being at school or work away from someone who causes them stress or home, opportunities, time with family and friends, and a myriad of things I’m not thinking of. I read more news than the average person, and it is absolutely heartbreaking to read people’s stories of loss, trauma, and devastation. Some people have created opportunities in the midst of chaos, while others have just adapted and are living one day at a time. The scary thing is that no one knows where this goes or how it ends. Will the COVID-19 virus go away, or be around in some form for the foreseeable future? Will we all be vaccinated by force or shunned by society if we don’t get vaccinated? Will the economy continue to collapse or will it recover? Will there be a 2020 Presidential election? Will life ever be so-called “normal” ever again? Your guess is as good as mine.

art artistic black and white blank
Photo by Lynnelle Richardson on Pexels.com

For now, I am happy to see my family from time to time via ZOOM, in short, manageable doses. I enjoy leisurely walks around my neighborhood. I cherish the painstaking work my husband does on our yard while I help collect rocks, gather supplies, and move bags of mulch and soil so we can have a garden. As anxiety-ridden as I get sometimes, I try to focus on now instead of worrying about if I will ever be able to travel again, or if the world will break out in war over tariffs or the origins of the Coronavirus. Will we ever get to see live music again? Will we ever get to watch professional baseball again?

White Sox baseball-1222404__340
Photo by Chrellie at Guaranteed Rate Field (formerly U.S. Cellular Field) in Chicago, IL

I can’t spent too much time worrying about these things because the information available causes more confusion than clarity, no matter the sources you read. I try to remain hopeful, and I try to be mindful of the world around me. I’m not without challenges or struggles, but I am much luckier than some. I hope the best for us all.

I Will Never Forget… 9-11

Torri-di-luce-a-New-York

Fourteen years ago, I made my way to New York city for the first time. I had dreamed of visiting for years, and decided to visit my brother who was attending college nearby in New Jersey. That week was one of the best times of my life, and I know that this trip meant a lot to my brother as well. I went to many of the great tourist attractions, took into the spirit of NYC, ate lots of NYC pizza and hot dogs from every street vendor I could, and I got to attend my first New York Yankees baseball game. I maybe from Chicago, but I love New York!

I grew up in a household watching the U.S. Open tennis tournament every year. I heard stories from my Dad who had visited NYC many times, including as a youngster with my grandfather. A frame photo of the New York City skyline hung in our living room and still does today. I would always ask my Dad about the different buildings as a child, and he got a booklet from a NYC colleague so he could better show me and teach me their names. I knew where the different ports were, which river was the East and which was the Hudson. I knew the different bridges: the Verrazano-Narrows bridge, the Manhattan bridge, and the Brooklyn bridge. I knew the Empire State building, the Chrysler building, and the World Trade center, also know as the Twin Towers.

I, like most Americans, remember how my day started and what happened on September 11, 2001. I was getting ready to go to a new job, getting dressed and checking the news. I saw them report that the World Trade Center had been hit, and I saw the smoke pluming from one building, then the other. I remember my Dad calling the house from work, telling us to turn on the TV if we hadn’t already. I remember the shock, what was going on? How could this happen? Was my brother, across the river in Jersey City going to be safe?

I was in the world Trade Center five months earlier, with my brother and a friend, looking out on one of the world’s greatest cities from the observation deck. I spent a lot of time walking around that area, and have many pictures taken of and from the World Trade Center. I remember thinking, wow, I could have been in those building when this shocking, unbelievable, and very tragic event happened. I wasn’t, but so many other people were. They all got up that day just as I had, and their lives were changed forever. Many people lost family and friends that were in those buildings, working, trying to rescue people, or just visiting New York City. They died due to a horrible tragedy that I hope never happens to our country ever again. One of my brother’s dearest friends lost his father that day.

My brother and his friends helped out by loading supplies in the boats that cross the river to the NYC side. He said that they had to get their minds off what happened and wanted to do something to help. The shock and horror of what happened took a backseat to their desire to be part of the solution. They cheered on and gave their time to the firefighters and other workers that were now searching for people at Ground Zero to boost their morale and express their appreciation. I will never know exactly what that experience was like for my brother, who later moved across the river to Manhattan. He sent us wonderful pictures capturing the spirit of NYC fighting back and banding together, one of which made it into a 9-11 commemoration book.

I visited Ground Zero in May 2002 while I was in NYC for my brother’s college graduation. It was indescribable. Those tall, strong buildings with the beautiful view of the city were not only gone, but an ugly, gaping hole in the ground with the remainder of the debris was left in its place. There were makeshift memories surrounding the area, poster of lost loved ones, posting of thank you for the people around the world who felt New Yorkers’ and Americans’ pain. It was an overwhelming scene and I was overcome with emotion, but glad that I had my memories. Even today, seeing pictures of the World Trade Center evoke feelings of happiness, sadness, and wonder about the why and how of what happened. The perpetrators and their accomplices, whoever they may be, destroyed a great American Icon but they didn’t destroy my memories.

Courtesy of allposters.pt
Courtesy of allposters.pt

My family went to the 9-11 memorial in Chicago on September, 11, 2002, and my brother was temporarily living with us while he figured out his next steps. Brother happened to be interviewed by a local news affiliate, and said that he had not talked about 09-11-01 since it happened. He came alive talking about NYC coming together and about supporting the rescue workers with a spirit of fight and courage – I saw something special in him that day, and was very proud.

I will always remember 9-11-01. I am grateful as an American for the brave men and women who rose to the occasion to help, rescue and, ultimately sacrifice themselves so that others might live. I am grateful for those, like my brother and his friends, who got stronger and reached out to others when they could have stood by. I am grateful for the police and firemen throughout America who go to work everyday to rescue, protect and help others, with the knowledge that their lives could be at risk and sacrificed. There are tragedies throughout our country every day, but I pray that we will never face another day like September 11, 2001.

© 2015 bogdaysofchrell