Jay Lenkersdorfer

These are trying times with hardships, health concerns, limited incomes and all-around change. Those of us who have been around for decades have seen trying times, but short of the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 which happened before most of us were born, these feel like the worst days we have ever been exposed to.

If you were to go back to the first of January and ask each breadwinner how he thought the year 2020 would unfold I am certain you would have heard mostly positive attitudes and a general feeling of optimism. January should be a time for renewal or new beginnings, often with us setting new goals or resolutions for how things would unfold in that new year.

We always want to improve upon our shortcomings or failures and the beginning of the year is certainly a good time to do it. Two months into the year it was obvious that this year would be quite different from anything we could have imagined. The Covid-19 virus has taken our lives down a vastly different path than any of us could have imagined.

Things that were important to us on January 1, 2020 are mostly forgotten because we have put all our focus on staying healthy. For those who have been exposed to the virus and have come away with it ravaging their body, their entire focus has been on fighting it with every fiber in their bodies. Not infecting others has clearly been on our minds and much of the concern we have is about protecting those with preexisting conditions.

We cannot say for sure, but we are of the opinion that my youngest brother was exposed to the virus when flying to Arizona for a quick get-a-way around the first of the year. He has not had a test to see if he has the antibodies in his system that would prove he has had the virus but the health scare he had shortly after his get-away-weekend took him to the brink.

He had every one of the symptoms we have been educated to look out for with problems breathing being the most severe. Not one to be a sissy about how he is feeling, he missed nine days of work and had many more where he worked from home. Being a widower living alone added to his anxiety of not being able to breathe, getting so bad that he called our sister who is a nurse to help him get to the hospital.

Now three months into his recovery he is finally able to function and do the things he had been prevented from doing. Seeing the effects firsthand has made it even more important for me to prevent exposure.

One of the scary impacts of the Covid-19 virus is how random the symptoms can be for different people. My brother was never hospitalized but he wasn’t far from it in the early days of his sickness. As a man nearing sixty years of age it is all the more important for me to follow the best safeguards being recommended by our medical people. I have a home-made mask that was generously made for me by a wonderful lady who took it upon herself early on to make this protection available.

I must admit that I was a little self-conscious wearing it for the first few weeks but seeing more and more people wearing masks has made it much easier to be comfortable wearing it when away from home. For the first time in two months we finally interacted with our neighbors for a fish fry. With all the uncertainty going around it was a little odd to be in their home but knowing they have been every bit as cautious about not getting exposed to the virus helped us have the interaction.

Each of us is only as safe as the least safe person in our peer groups. The change in the way we interact with our loved ones has taken some time to get used to. We would typically have our grandchildren who live locally in our homes every week, but it has been much longer than that since we have seen them. It is so hard to have these inconveniences thrust upon us, but the unknown is even worse. A perfectly healthy person could get the virus and not show symptoms for upwards of one week making it nearly impossible to know to stay away from them until it is too late.

The changes in the way we have been living over the past few months have been important in not becoming exposed. While I hope that things can get back to normal soon, it is also probable that our lives will never be as carefree and without worry as they were before mid-February of this year. The measure of our success in fighting the Covid-19 virus is dependent on starting over by living our lives with more care and concern for our own health and the health of our loved ones.

I would plead with you to do your best to create a new beginning or new way of living that maintains many of the precautions recommended by our doctors but with the importance of having fellowship with our friends, neighbors and for that matter, every other person in our community.

Together we can beat this.

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