A few nights ago a good friend asked me how I managed not get depressed. I then took my computer, my dog Donna asleep in the chair beside me, and wrote the following:

‘Always look on the bright side of life’, yes, that might be true for normal life. But life at this stage is anything but normal.

Of course there are moments it hits me, especially as I am sitting alone in my apartment. And I’ll be happy if we are ten days further and someone who probably had the virus, has not infected me. I am human!

In recent days there were so many people who needed reassurance, comfort, encouragement, so many myths to puncture. Just now I put up a notice in the lifts in our building at home to ensure that people avoid going into the lift together and to make sure they keep a distance. Nobody else seems to think of these things, except our cleaner Xavier. With true Spanish pride he told me how he specially disinfects things. Wonderful!

Today I talked with and heard about four families, where all family members probably picked up the virus (no more testing is taking place), were truly ill, but….all are recovering.

A family member who hardly ever phones, contacted me to say that he had called the uncle and aunts. Everything was ok. ‘And all is well with you too, he?’

A few days ago I visited a friend who recently turned 100. The place where she lives was locking down in the afternoon. No more access. That feels strange. Due to deafness she cannot communicate by phone. And she cannot write as her hands don’t want to. We said to each other: ‘We will meet again, … of elsewhere. God is holding on to us.’ Both fully at peace and given…but with a big lump in my throat.

I then ordered  a small deepfreeze online for another friend of 84 so I can provide here with some meals, just in case…

Today during my walk with Donna I thought of a way to see my friend of 100: she lives on the first floor and looks down on a field. Donna and I can stand there and wave to her at a prearranged time. That way she knows we are close to her. (PS: it worked beautifully!!)

Yes, many more people will fall ill. And it is quite possible that some who are dear to us will die.

 Everything we know is topsy turvy and this is only the beginning. This coming period nothing will be self-evident, something most people have never been confronted with.

I had to think back to my time during the dictatorship in Argentina, the visits to the refugee camps in Thailand, the favellas in Brazil and Kenya.

There was shortage of everything, including water and electricity. The fight was against a visible enemy.

We are now fighting an invisible enemy. But most of all against ourselves so as not to allow the perplexity, panic and fear which are just around the corner, to overcome us.

The paradox is spring bursting forth: flowers and blossom dazzle you. The birds are singing their loudest song.

Hidden behind all doubt and disquiet in our lives is a deep well of trust and wisdom: in you, in me, in everyone.

Possibly our biggest challenge now is to free that well and let living water flow forth.

Younger friends phone me, wanting to be sure I am well. “I’m here for you if you need me!” Absolutely heartwarming.

One felt so guilty she wasn’t doing more. But her work is crucial to a large group of people. Doing that work well is now her first responsibility.

That is something we can do: to be there for each other. And those who have a faith: let it speak in a way that is their own, real and deep.

Lotty Wolvekamp

2020, March 20