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Surviving Covid times

Staying positive in pandemic

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Photo credit:  M.F.Kratunis
Photo credit: M.F.Kratunis

Surviving Covid Times

Staying positive in the pandemic

Greetings, my name is Rita B. Rose

I am a retired nurse, funeral director, and an award-winning poet.

The Covid Pandemic occupies a good portion of everyone’s

lives so I want to add my two cents by sharing

my experiences on how I have, thus far, stayed afloat

during the lockdown.

While many of us live in fear of this life-robbing virus,

I knew better than to fret. The old adage, with age comes wisdom,

is true. Living long does change a person’s perspective of how

one sees things. Old-fashioned experience is paramount, it prepares

us for challenges, good and bad.  My intuition and background

in nursing also helped.

In 1976 I was a volunteer nurse with the Red Cross.  

Fear of the Swine Flu was rampant, as is, Covid, now.  

I was part of the first line of defense so there was no

time to sit and sulk. I had to step up to the plate against

this raging flu. I vaccinated many terrified people.

And, like today, I wore a mask, gloves and followed

similar procedures such as conscientious handwashing,

good hygiene and house cleaning.

The job of the Red Cross was to also teach others to employee

these simple but necessary techniques.

Just as in my Swine Flu volunteer days, I find it helpful to listen

to daily Covid updates. Decades ago, we were limited to radio,

television, and information from the Red Cross.

Today, so much information pours in from everywhere.

Sometimes it is hard to decipher real news from bogus

info. I suggest you sift through the data carefully.

Pay close attention to specialists from the CDC, WHO and

From around the globe.

Form a daily plan as to how you will take control. Use precautions

whenever you and your family return from the grocer and

the local pharmacy. Being mindful, not overwhelmed, when

wiping surfaces with disinfectant. This helps to keep the virus at bay.

If you have pets, make sure you ask the vet what is and is not

toxic.

Like most of you, throughout this pandemic, I have spent extra time

cleaning countertops and door knob fomites, anything I touch

will get the wipe treatment.

Before bedtime, I mop floors with a diluted pine disinfectant.

In the beginning, like everybody else, I freaked out. After all,

we are only human. But now, I clean at my leisure and it’s a breeze.

To make time pass faster while cleaning, I play uplifting music

or sometimes enjoy basking in the silence. I also spend time

thanking God for another day I and others are alive.

Staying positive is key!

Many suffers of insomnia may not be able to listen to music

before bed. Perhaps a relaxing meditation would be beneficial,

but, more about that later.

Many of you who are reading this article, lost family and

friends and acquaintances in this Covid Pandemic.

I lost ten friends and right now I still have family

members suffering the long-hauling effects from the virus.

I mourn with you and the world.

I have been to my local cemetery to witness burials. In my poem,

Cemetery Sojourn, I shall share this experience with you.

I will also share a light poem about a young man in the

neighborhood who refuses to wear a mask,

I call him the Pandemic Skateboarder.

Also, in dealing with great grief and the extra added effects

of being shut-in, I adopted a modern way of how to regroup

in order to remain optimistic.

What is this new way of staying afloat?

I began to enjoy the many free programs on Zoom! Yes, I learned

how to ZOOM, and no, this is not a commercial for the medium!

To my surprise, it was easy. I joined many ZOOMERS across the globe.

For me, it was also a rebirth. You see, I am a senior who has lost my night

vision to a stroke, so being shut-in is nothing new for me, but all

the time being shut-in…well, this was a bit much.  

I, like you, were forced to spend loads of quality time with myself

and guess what? I found I really began to like me too!

Also, during this time, I got a handle on re-evaluating who my true

friends really were. Before my almost life-taking stroke, I spent years

socializing with these so-called friends. They called for free medical

advice, I drove them to events, and such—

Then, when I had my stroke, and when I really needed help, well,

let us just say, they disappeared!

I was abandoned!

These fair-weather friends were too busy mingling with healthy friends

To help me. They suggested I take public transportation! Not only was

this an insult after all I did for them, but I cannot imagine me

taking an Uber!

So, in my Covid solitude, I began to see clearly. First on the list to go

were my fair-weather friends and after them, I peeled away self-doubt.

I shed the old me and my long-ingrained ideals. No longer did I mope.  I

allowed myself to grow. With a new attitude, great experiences began

to come my way.

ZOOM offered a most interesting social life as well as a platform

for my poetry. I even gained even more confidence.

Though it was through the lens of a virtual world, this old gal

began to fly again!

I started to balance my new social life with more me time.

Yes, more me time!

Being a senior and zooming around the globe

caused me to get ZOOM lag!

So now after I ZOOM, I rest.  In my down time, I think of all the new

places I want to go and I simply regroup.

Whether I write poetry, paint, repair stuff around the house,

clean a closet, watch a classic movie, or just sit in the quiet,

I do it all in time, my time, and by the way, I accomplish this

with a weak left arm and other conditions…

I am a stroke and psoriatic arthritis warrior!  

I am a fighter who loves life and I even love

to stop and smell the roses!

During this pandemic, I spend more time

in my flower garden. This love of gardening

produced an unexpected fun book of flower pantoums called,

Flower Poems, personalities in bloom. I will share more later.

Back to meditation:

Remember, early on, I briefly mentioned meditation?

Well, there are many benefits from doing so. At the height

of this viral scourge, I reached out to an essential inspirational

speaker who was sharing similar experiences about Covid.

She offered much needed advice and hope in this dark time,

her name is Agapi Stassinopoulos.

After our initial communication, I began to look forward to her

weekly e-mail meditations. Her encouragement helped me to

keep a consistent mediation schedule.  

I consider her input and positive reinforcement a great gift.

Also, during this pandemic, I visit The Lady of the Grotto,

in Lourdes, France.

Oh, the benefits of Zooming across the globe!

At Lourdes, I share prayers with everyone in the world.

We pray for all who are ill, who are dying and died,

we pray for my friends and family, dogs, cats,

and their families—for all people—

There is meditative power in prayer. Try it!

Many of you may be saying:  I do not know how to meditate.

Bette Davis once said, in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane,

“But cha are, Blanche, you are! She wasn’t specifically

speaking about what I am but you get the idea.

Well, YOU ARE meditating whenever you house clean, mop,

help the kids with homework, when you cook, pick flowers,

listen to music, enjoy TV, lounge in your yard,

watch birds fly by—you are all unconsciously doing it!

Again, if you need inspiration reach out and join motivational speakers,

like Agapi, as they teach and share. I think you will agree,

is more fun not doing things alone.

Well, this piece has become long winded. Since I had a stroke

all I seem to want to do is speak and write!

In short, dear friends, please try not to despair during this pandemic.

It is a mere hiccup in this thing called life. Perhaps, in a year it will be over.

In the meantime, get creative! Find your outlet. Make new friends.

Join ZOOM groups, inspirational/motivational speakers, or other media events. 

Thrive!  

Travel across the world to poetry, ballet recitals, music recitals, theatre performances,

paint classes, exercise classes, cooking classes, meditation and self-help classes—

You have much to offer—

The world is waiting to welcome you and no one needs to know you are joining

events in your P.J.s!

At this time, I want to wish you prayers, love and light

and as I promised, I will share a few poems inspired by the pandemic.

Keep the faith—meditate and Thrive!

I think I added about ten cents worth, ha!

Stay strong!

Rita B. Rose

[email protected]

2020 Flower Poems, personalities in bloom.

This is a pleasant book of pantoums and other verse.

Available at Barnesandnoble.com    Walmart.com and other book retailers.

Stroke Connection-summer 2019, The American Heart and Stroke Association,

has published my poem Stroke. You can read it online there.

(before pandemic but as promised)

This poem is for the Essential workers:

HOPE in COVID times

Today I seize the rainbow of HOPE

for patients who struggle on ventilators

I applaud nurses and aides who comfort them

and doctors who have tried their best

I grasp the rainbow of HOPE

remembering all souls who have died

I gaze at clouds that heavenly part

I mourn with those who grieve

for all that do not know what will become

I hold tight the rainbow of HOPE

in honor of the resilient human spirit

confident we will triumph over this pandemic

this twenty-first century viral scourge

I holdfast the sculpture of HOPE

on the Good Samaritan Hospital lawn

with prayers and good wishes for

essential workers and families

fraught everywhere

For all who died:

Cemetery Sojourn

Visited loved ones Easter morn

burial mounds were a staggering many

peaceful green lawns were cross

peppered by heaving hills of sorrow

Each hillock was a lost life shrouded

departed souls as far as the eye could see

steadfast is death; a viral scourge

as I kneeled in prayer it shadowed me

I clutched my rosary in defiance

contradicting the reapers call

in gloves and sodden mask, am I

tears mingling upon the recent pall     

Flaccid frozen are faces

loved ones from every town

a grave marker holds their place

under knolls of mud-covered brown

Selection from Flower Poems: Personalties in Bloom

Published 2020 Xlibris.com

Shasta Daisy 

Shasta daisy swaying in the wind  

ready to party any hour of the day

offering a buttery button smile; a welcoming sign                               

with thin white petals keeping flower-beat-time                                                                    

Ready to party any hour of the day

crazy daisy you are my lady

with thin white petals keeping flower-beat-time

dancing in the breeze never tires you

Crazy daisy you are my lady

your zest is contagious to all

dancing in the breeze never tires you

you are vital to our garden

Your zest is contagious to all

offering a buttery button smile; a welcoming sign

you are vital to our garden

Shasta daisy swaying in the wind

For the guy who refuses to wear a mask

Published in Corona Anthology

Walt Whitman Birthplace, N.Y.

Pandemic Skateboarder

Covid on a skateboard rode by today

No face covering, no gloves

Red T-shirt draped his shape

Neon yellow shorts highlighted

His gray and black sneakers

He wore a grin as wide as a viral brim

As he skated past

I pointed to my mask

Thinking his youth

Offered invincibility

He chuckled—I warned—

This virus will force you to your knees

Covid on a board dismissed me

With a wave and rolled along

Silly boy, you cannot push off what

You do not see, death will be your last wish

You better bail—isolate—skate home

Or this bug will high jump you

To heaven above!

Hope you enjoyed my selections.

Stay safe!

Rita B. Rose poetry appears in books, publications and anthologies

in Paris, Africa, the U.K., Spain, the U.S.A.

Copyright RoseRB2019-21

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