Fern Ridge Review
Sweet Lorane Community News
May 21, 2020
By Pat Edwards
As I sit down at my computer and try to record my thoughts during this Phase One reopening of our state under the COVID-19 pandemic protocols, I feel somewhat vulnerable.
It is a scary time—not just because of the fear of so many being sickened by the deadly virus, but fear for those on the front lines who are putting themselves in jeopardy in order to provide for the sick and the rest of us who are trying to avoid becoming ill; and fear for those in essential service positions who must be there for us whether they want to be or not.
And then there’s the equally frightening way the COVID-19 protocols are hurting our economy. People are dying, yes, but so many others who are out of work are hurting badly, too; some businesses might not survive, and the future is a huge question mark for us all.
There are so many strong, differing viewpoints on what needs to be done to get our economy kick-started again while trying to keep the virus at bay. The frustrations after being quarantined for over two months are causing some to rebel. Tempers are short and opinions are strong—opinions ranging from “should we wear masks in public” to whether or not we want to be vaccinated if a viable vaccine is developed any time soon, to suspicions that this is all a hoax to take away our rights. It saddens me that some are using either shaming tactics or conspiracy theories to express their frustrations, and because it is an election year, the discussions are becoming more and more political.
I have never been a political person. I haven’t ever been comfortable with our lawmakers forming political parties that are adhered to regardless of whether the individual members agree with the policies or not. I have been registered in one party all of my life, but I’ve frequently voted for candidates and measures that are supported by the other party if they seem the better choice. To me, that’s true democracy.
I spent 15 years working with developmental biology and genetics scientists at the University of Oregon. I’ve seen how dedicated and exacting they are to their research projects and I have a great deal of respect for the lifetimes of work they spend to determine the causes of illnesses and conditions in the human body so that cures or at least methods of dealing with them can be developed. I have read about how devastating pertussis, diphtheria, and tetanus were before I was born in 1942, and I was fortunate enough to be protected from them by the vaccines that were developed by then. I’ve lived through the days of children my age dying or living in iron lungs before Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine in 1955. Polio has been eradicated in the U.S. since 1979 and is rare in other countries throughout the world. I’ve seen how measles, mumps and rubella have diminished considerably, and smallpox was eradicated worldwide.
I’ve formed my own opinions, right or wrong, that have come from my own experiences growing up with diseases that are now almost wiped out, from studying the history of other pandemics and putting my trust in the on-going work the epidemiologists and scientists have put into their life-long work. If I am the sheep being led to slaughter that I was indirectly compared to by an extended family member for wearing a mask in public and observing social distancing, then I certainly haven’t had the wool pulled over my eyes. I know what my opinions are based on…. they come from the knowledge, integrity, respect and honesty of those I trust—and I expect our leaders to do the same. We must all evaluate our own actions and respect the opinions of others, but not accept those opinions as our own if they do not match our own set of values. For me, those values include integrity, honesty, compassion, humility, intellect, respect, loyalty and strength.
In the end, it is vital that we respect each other regardless of how differing our opinions are if we are to meet this “new normal” together. Each of us must arrive at our opinions in our own way and realize that just because we have placed our belief in a certain mind-set, none of us—even the so-called experts—really know what the future holds.
For Jim and me, we are going to begin socializing a bit more during Phase One, but when we are out in public, we will wear our masks and continue to use hand sanitizers and wipes. We’ll do things with family a bit more, too. I’ve found that the hardest part of the stay-at-home protocols was not seeing our grandchildren and great-grands in person. For Mother’s Day, however, our daughter Gloria decided to host a spur-of-the-moment barbecue for our family outside in her big yard where we could all spread out. Jim and I took our seats in her gazebo around the unlit firepit with a couple of others while Gloria barbecued and Michele brought out some side dishes, disposable plates and clean serving utensils.
When Stephanie, our granddaughter, and her family arrived, I heard a squeal as her three girls got out of the car. I saw the oldest, 5-year-old Harper, running across the lawn towards us with excitement and a huge smile on her face. Then, she stopped about 10 feet away from us, still smiling, but with a question mark look in her eyes. I knew that she had been instructed to not approach GiGi or Papa without permission. My heart melted at that moment and I held out my arms and said, “Harps, I need a hug SO bad right now!” and she came running into them with one of the biggest hugs I’ve ever had. Then she did the same with her “Papa.”
I know that we broke the rules of self-distancing that evening, but I have long been a “Que Sera, Sera” type of person, and that hug reinforced my feeling that if the coronavirus is in my future, I would rather it come from someone I love rather than a complete stranger. Family is everything to me and I place my trust in mine. Their love and caring is more than worth it.