April 7, 2020
Dear Mom and Dad:
Although you are not with us here on earth, I thought I'd write and tell you about what's going on in the world these days. It's not good. The corona virus, which causes COVID-19, has rampaged across the world, with close to one and half million infections and nearly 80,000 deaths, 11,000 of which have occurred in the United States. The majority of deaths have been in people over 80 with underlying health conditions, but there have been an increasing number in younger people. Most recover, but the illness can be extremely rough. There is no cure and no vaccine.
The primary way this virus has been dealt with in the U.S. is to have people stay home or if they must go out, wear face masks and keep their distance from others. Schools have been shut down, as well as all non-essential businesses. Restaurants, churches, gyms and hair salons are shuttered. The streets of big cities like New York are ghost towns. All sports, concerts and theater performances have been cancelled. Travel has come to an almost complete standstill. Doctors, nurses, EMTs, firefighters and other personnel have been infected because of their exposure. Personal protective equipment and ventilators are in short supply. The good news is that Americans have stepped up to the plate and helped as they can, either with donations or volunteer help. There are many people out of work and unable to pay the rent or put food on the table.
Here's how it has affected us personally. We now order all our groceries and pick them up at the store with no contact. Getting a manicure or haircut is out of the question. I'm aching to plant my flowers for the summer, but can't go to the garden center to buy them. Once a week, we get take-out from local restaurants to help them stay in business. We cancelled our cleaning lady, but still pay her. We have not been able to have our family dinners each Sunday, which we dearly miss. Our time is spent cleaning the house, taking care of Toby, watching TV and reading.
Mom, you would not be happy right now. There is no baseball and your beloved Detroit Tigers are waiting for the season (if there is one) to begin. Your fellow baseball fan, Andy, is going crazy because there are no sports to watch. If you and Dad were still at the Woodlands, you would not be able to go to the dining room for dinner or interact with any of your friends. We would have to talk to you through the window. When the staff there came to help you, they would be wearing masks and gloves. Dad, you would be properly horrified at what's going in the hospital world right now and worried about David as he treats people coming into the emergency department desperately sick with COVID-19.
Hannah and Reagan are working from home. We help them by keeping Noah and Lena at our house several hours a day. Alison is on the front lines working at Whole Foods, which has taken great care to keep people from transmitting the virus. Because she may have been exposed and then possibly infect Booker and Matt, we have to stay apart from them, which makes us sad. Pete has been looking for a new job, but there is virtually no hiring activity in Richmond, VA at the moment.
While I miss you every day and long to talk with you, it's better that you're not here to witness this awful situation, or worse, get terribly sick. I know you look down on our extended family with love and wish us good health.
Your daughter Chris
I'm Chris Barabasz, retired from a 35-year career managing communications for health care development (that's fundraising for you civilians). I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and freelance writer. My husband Andy and I moved from Delaware to Texas to be closer to our daughters and three adorable grandchildren.