I keep hearing that we must help others, such as staying in touch with our older generation, and shopping for isolated neighbours, etc.
But my grandparents are only capable of phoning or emailing, which they do constantly, always disrupting my working at home.
Shopping is also difficult just for myself alone, because of long line-ups and my fears of being out among people.
I don’t want to be selfish but I find these urgings to help “all of us” very hard to follow.
Can you help me?
You’re already part of the big picture here, just by being honest about how the stay-home instructions, the help-others urgings, and your understandable fears are affecting you.
You’re not alone in having these feelings, which is part of what’s meant about being all in this together.
Your grandparents are, unfortunately, in the most vulnerable cohort that the fierce coronavirus targets.
With its severe symptoms and no cure or vaccine available for at least months, your relatives need your understanding and comfort most.
Set up definite phone times - eg. morning, lunch, dinner - when you’ll check on them. Explain that, all other times, you’ll see an email but not always answer immediately unless there’s a problem.
For neighbours, anything and everything helps: Bananas, other fruit, fresh vegetables, eggs.
Or donate online an amount to cover such essential items, to your local Food Bank.
Also, do an online search for food access supports, resources for seniors and other vulnerable people in your city.
Just seeing the numbers of businesses and community groups bringing food, moving people, sending coffee, snacks and take-out meals to front-line hospital staff, first responders, truck drivers, etc. will put the concept of being in this together, into clearer perspective.
FEEDBACK Regarding the couple now forced by the pandemic to both work from home, when their operative styles have differed greatly over the past 20 years (April 10):
Reader – “I agree with many of your comments to the couple that have different working styles, and are driving each other crazy.
“However, you’re asking the husband to do all the compromising around her music by saying that he should look for a white noise machine or headphones to block out the music that she’s constantly listening to “in the background.”
“Since you can often feel the beat even if you can’t hear it, I suspect he’d still be distracted.
“Perhaps she could also invest in a good set of wireless headphones (since she moves around), and they could alternate days – she listens on her headphones one day, giving him total quiet, and the next, he uses what noise-cancelling device he has to let her listen unencumbered.
“Then each of them gets what they want, yet neither is inconvenienced more than the other. And if she gets good headphones, she may not even want to dispense with them in time – sound quality will be better. Win/win.”
Reader #2 – “Why should he be the one to try and solve that particular problem when she’s the one causing it?”
Ellie - Attitude here in #2 is lose/lose due to bickering and finger-pointing.
I’m not saying that this second approach doesn’t make good sense (it does), just that its tone is unhelpful.
With both people sticking to the way things were in their lives before the virus’ threat, they could end up miserable together instead of joyous, when the threat is hopefully and greatly lessened.
Reader #3 – “My husband and I live in a condo loft about 964 sq. ft. The walls don’t go to the ceiling, so it’s one sound-space.
Luckily there’s a mezzanine where I have my office. My husband’s den is on the main level. We have different working styles, similar to the couple in the April 10 letter.
“When my husband listens to music, he wears headphones, which is what that wife should do.
“In their three-bedroom condo, two bedrooms could be converted into separate offices. We eat lunch at different times, but eat dinner together.
“Although we’re spending more time together, we try to take walks a few days a week to get fresh air and pass other people from six feet away.
“If one of us needs a break, we’ll exercise, take a walk alone, or go shopping (once a week). We have learned to co-exist without disagreements. So far so good.”
Tip of the day:
In war, everyone’s at risk. In a pandemic, even those who feel invulnerable may spread the deadly disease which can turn on them too.