Connected by humanity

Dear Editor:

Since this wave of COVID hit, I have been thinking a lot about isolation and what it can tell us. I am sure all of us have been having similar feelings of loss and loneliness. I realize that my life has not changed nearly as much as others’ because I am used to being alone, as many seniors are. The days don’t hold much variety for those of us who live by ourselves or who have a partner who is not well.

I am pretty active and so am out for a part of every day, but I have friends who are isolated, and have been, even before COVID. They are retired business people, teachers, paralegals, engineers, interior decorators, bakers. We talk over the phone or with video chat programs. But mainly, most of our time is spent alone.

When I see all the suffering people are going through, even some in Europe demonstrating in the streets against the isolation, I wonder, “Do they realize that they know seniors who live those lives of isolation every day? COVID or no COVID.” I am a pretty introverted person, so it doesn’t impact me so much, but I can see that, whether we like it or not, whether we choose it or not, this society has decided that seniors are of little value.

Even when we are marching with signs against exploitation and for the planet, I sometimes see a younger person looking on, either with annoyance that we are disturbing their peace, or with indulgence for the old folks being so passionate, and see it as cute … the whole message lost to the perception of the old.

Some of us may forget sometimes, we may not be able to climb up to reach the top shelf, we may not be aware of the day of the week or the date, because every day is like the last. Does this sound familiar?

I wonder if, now that COVID is here, younger people can sympathize with the isolation of seniors and understand that no one enjoys being out of touch with the world, wondering when we will be able to see and hug loved ones again, when the warmth of that contact will seep into our bones and make them young, even if for those few moments.

We are survivors, we are strong and wise, so take that from us. Nothing lasts forever.

Take care of your elders, they have the arms to reach around each of us and teach us about being loved. Call them. Make a date for a video visit. Send them flowers, chocolates, a magazine, or good book. Offer to do the shopping, pick up the mail, and when you are going out to do something, remember to ask your elder neighbour if they have a need or want.

We are all connected by our humanity.

Gerry Walsh,