Opinion, Editorial and the occasional Freudian slip

The pandemic and the lessons it is teaching us….

I was woken up early this morning by a phone call. It was a Sunday morning, it was 5 am and I was alarmed more than upset. With the coronavirus running rampant in the city and in the country, there is a constant sense of foreboding and a call at an unusual hour qualifies as a heart stopping event. It turned out to be one of the staff members from work. I assumed she had called by mistake. Maybe she touched my number by mistake. She had sent me a message last night and anyway smart phones have this habit of almost spontaneously dialing numbers. But she called back again in a few minutes to tell me that her husband had passed. Many phone calls back and forth and some dreary household chores later, I glanced at the newspapers. The headlines were all about Covid, the troubles with getting a bed in hospitals, the fires, the lack of oxygen, the overworked crematoriums. The coffee stopped tasting as good as it usually does.

Checking on my covid positive friends, I found this beautiful song sent by one of them. A dear friend and her family had tested positive and were recovering. She had sung this song that was about celebrating life. It was a moment of truth to listen to those words. She is a very spirited person and listening to her sing given her circumstances certainly made a difference to my dipping mood. 

There is an overwhelming realization among a lot of people that life is so fragile. The pandemic has broken all barriers and become a great equalizer. Everyone who needs medical help is waiting outside one hospital or the other to be let in for some air. The hospital may be different, but the need is the same- oxygen and a bed. The tone of conversations is thoughtful, searching for meaning and introspecting on why we harp on possessions, egos and more. A cousin said he was sure he wasn’t going to add a spoon to his possessions given that his children may have trouble dealing with what he already has- the wonderful old mantelpiece, the quaint crockery, the favorite books, the cameras, the lithographs, the paintings- the list is endless. I was reading a blog written by a person sitting down to make a will. With the virus around, you never know, he felt. He listed everything he owned and was flummoxed with who to leave it all to. If he left it for a cause, who could execute it? How much would his children be able to manage? As for the person who died suddenly this morning, his wife called and cried that the cremation was all done by 9am. In a flash, he became a body from a man and within four hours there was no trace of the body on this earth. 

Takes me back to the concerns expressed by many parents of children with ASD that we work with. There is so much stress on what to do next, how to fix this trouble and the other, how to make the child read, write, talk in full sentences, make friends, play with his peer group, and have a conversation. And all the precious time spent on endless discussions about the newest cure for ASD, the diet, the foods, the therapies, and the CAM. 

Lessons learnt:

·  Don’t complain about the heat but look out at the sun and be happy that t is shining out there. Life is good!

·  The power supply is so unpredictable sometimes, that watching a movie becomes annoying, not to speak of the likely damage to the expensive electronics. Maybe it’s a chance to talk to other people in the house instead of watching the movie. And the equipment? It will be redundant soon anyway and no one has the space for the huge screen.

·  I have watched everything worth watching on TV. What do I do now? Maybe it is time to read a book or spend some time doing things with your partner of your children. How about lying down with the dogs for a while?

·  Your last Zoom meeting left you fuming. That person with a huge ego was sitting there and making some blatant innuendos, that opened up old wounds. Let it go. Today is all we have, now is all we have, the past is gone, and the future is far away. 

·  Cleaning the house is such a chore, that you wish the morning would not come just yet. It’s hot, muggy, and sweaty by the time the chores are done. Pause to enjoy the cleanliness around you. It’s worth the effort!

·  As parents, sometimes we are so focused on what we think the child should know, that we forget to look at what he wants and what he can already do. 

·  If you are the parent of a child with autism, can you be his support and not his critic? You may then be able to see a child beyond the diagnosis. 

Mask up, stay in and stay safe. Today is your day. Sing a song and live life. Tomorrow is another day.