Thursday 9 April, 2020

COVID-19: Gran with health issues pleads: We don't want to die

The writer has asked us not to reveal her identity

The writer has asked us not to reveal her identity

My name is Judith and I am an artist.

I am 73 years old… with respiratory problems.

There are actually two of us… my husband (diagnosed with vascular dementia) and me— his caregiver and the one who tries to be active and constructive.

Coronavirus.

Most people cringe at the thought of staying home all day but for me, if I leave the house it could be a death sentence.

I’ve heard and read about so many people trying to make themselves feel better, like coronavirus doesn’t pose a risk to them.

“Oh, we don’t have to worry as most of those who die are old and have respiratory conditions.”

“Don’t you have parents or grandparents?” I think to myself.

The fact that more than a quarter of people in my shoes who contract COVID-19 do not survive is enough to make me feel ill.

So we quarantine ourselves. No visitors. No children. No grandchildren.

I am lucky I have a routine.

Each phase of life has a unique set of needs and characteristics. Every person was created to toil as the sages say. This toil takes different forms during our life cycle.

When I decided to retire I asked myself, “Retire from what? Ambition? Creativity? From myself?”

I cannot retire from life.

Sometimes modern society and circumstances (coronavirus) remind me that I have no energy and limited power. I feel demoralized.

I am trying to remind myself that no matter how weak our bodies may become, the soul can remain strong.

My daily routine: getting pretty, having a very good breakfast that I cook from scratch for us both. I read the daily paper. The TV is ON. Always. I am very informed.

I order my groceries and medicine online. No problem, we are organized. Next: I organize the house and listen to Beethoven piano concerto no. 5.

Check. Check. Check.

Youtube— a lifesaver. We are listening to the book of Daniel with a commentary before we eat lunch, which I also make from scratch.

The day moves on at exactly the speed of two old folks stuck at home indefinitely. But I am becoming very creative— more than usual.

I spend a few hours at my canvas.

My children and grandchildren are far away. My stepchildren and step-grandchildren are close by but they are unable to visit us due to the possible risk of infection.

I love to see my loved ones on the Internet. We Facetime several times a day.

The promise of a happy retirement a cruel myth.

For me, true happiness is only when I can creatively contribute to the lives of those around me.

And so I paint.

And I wait.

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