the trees remain and the sun shines…


Life suddenly got real two days ago. My youngest son tested positive for the dreaded disease Covid-19. He is twenty and very likely going to be just fine in the short term, of course nobody really knows what the long term affects will be. He sits in his room playing video game with friends around the globe and his brothers, one in the next room and another finally out of his own quarantine down the road. This is the cost of working in health care these days.

His EMT teacher implied that he had to decide between his job and the class as he was constantly going back to work with infected older people. This seems both short sighted and perhaps illegal as the nursing program at the school has not put this restriction on things. More information is being sought out.

All five of us our now under some form of self imposed quarantine, there is no real advice about what we should do. Should we mask up and go to work? Should we seclude for a couple of weeks/days? There is contradictory advice from OHA, The CDC and the behemoth in chief. Liability seems to be driving the bus as always in the land of the corporation or the pushing of cures that may or may not have efficacy.

I end up every day and night doing my own health check. Do I have shortness of breath? Am I experiencing chest pain? Am I coughing? Am I well or unwell? Several times in the night I have woken sweating convinced I have it, I have to breathe and calm myself. I am fine, he is fine, we are fine.

Me and the dog went for a wander this morning after the 8a.m. meeting and before the 11a.m. We stayed where we are supposed to be, the dog did not pay attention to social distancing. The trees remain and the sun still shines.


The truth is we are  all okay and there are people who are doing much more than us, making real sacrifices, this brief annoyance is just that an annoyance. This part will end and other things will begin and we will never be the same again. Maybe we will be a ore connected caring race,

The days roll by, the zoom meetings and phone calls, endless meetings. It seems that those of us who no longer actually go to work now seem to need to meet more frequently to justify our existence. I am coming to the conclusion that I really only have a part time job, or I can do my job more efficiently in a shorter time. The meetings are an annoyance, there is no real work so we make work.

The non-profit or charitable world has essentially been ignored by the government, local and federal. The American way is to lean on charities and also let them fail as we are all ultimately supposed to be self-sufficient. All of these things have resulted in the lack of our major fundraiser happening you really want 500 people in a room right now? This means our ability to be self-sufficient is limited. We all know that the stimulus will really end up being focussed on corporations and the profit margin.

However it is the none profits who are managing to meet this challenge with consistency, calmness and empathy as our government partners flounder, bully and attempt to intimidate their way to getting their needs met. Top down example I guess.

Most of my  work is talking to people, supervising managers of social service programs,  and training people. None of this requires a whole lot of work from me right now. Yes I still meet with the people I supervise over a screen. I miss my young people who I mentor and train. I Zoom in to their meetings and they smile and wave give me virtual hugs, and we are disconnected. They are doing the work and I like the head of state at a time of crises am sequestered for their own safety under a mountain somewhere trying to figure out what is actually happening. I send them gifts and masks and chocolate and they do the work.

Our house is divided, I am at one end in my space working, my wife at the other. In the middle is my eldest son and his son playing and laughing and rolling around. In his bedroom is the youngest laughing and coughing and every now and then taking deep breaths. Hopefully all will be well and we will get through this all.

Training plans, goals, board meetings and budgets don’t seem so important right now.

For the very first time in the twenty five years I have worked for this organization this is the first time I have not been on site for a crises. I have been through snow storms, power outages that lasted weeks, landslides, trees falling, epidemics and floods. Now I am not allowed there to do the heavy lifting, collect the treats, smile and let people know up close they are doing well. I am now at that social distance dictated by exposure and age. I am essentially the risk, they are to be protected, kept safe and nurtured, the woman I have mentored to this point gets to be the strong one, the anchor, the answer and this is right. She deserved the whisky we had delivered to her house tonight.

We will get back to normal service eventually whatever that means, thanks for bearing with me.

2 thoughts on “the trees remain and the sun shines…

  1. I’m sorry to read about your son, Neil – wishing him a swift recovery.
    This was a powerful post, thank you for sharing it. I appreciate how you’re being generous with your journey during this time. I believe that there’s comfort & hope when people share their stories and both the writers and readers realize, we’re not alone, we’re in this together.

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