I woke up in a panic very early this morning, fresh from a spate of horrible nightmares. My dreams were filled with loss, feelings of heart wrenching grief over losing several people very dear to me, both past and present. It still feels so real that I can’t even type their names.
It had to stem from watching the COVID-19 news from around the world last night. So much sadness, so much death, and so much idiocy of people refusing to take the pandemic seriously. It seems that if some people don’t experience it personally that it must not be real. Hearing that a Texas lieutenant governor said he was “fine” with sacrificing himself for his grandchildren and so that our economy could move on and the insinuation that some life is more important than others horrified me. This virus is truly shining a bright light on what is good in our world and our humanity and what is deeply broken. Lives- all lives- are more important than any economy. The callousness of the governor’s words absolutely chilled me to the bone.
I had such a good day yesterday, the first one that has felt normal since this nightmare began. I followed the schedule that I had set for myself, rising early to go for a walk/run with Marley, did house chores, practiced, then taught three of my clarinet students on-line. It was wonderful to see their beautiful smiling faces on my iPad screen and to get into the rhythm of teaching again. Teaching is such a part of who I am, and I haven’t felt whole without it.
One of my youngest students was full of smiles as the video session began, but when I asked her how she was doing with all of this, her expression turned quickly as she asked, “Dr. Gainey, when do you think it’s gonna end?” What do you say to a child who is experiencing this kind of fear and anxiety for the first time in their lives? I did my best to be truthful but comforting, telling her that I didn’t know, but that the more we all did our part to keep the virus from spreading, the sooner we could get back to normal life. After that, I got her playing her clarinet; music holds such power to heal us and lift our spirits.
I have already greatly reduced the amount of news that I am watching and reading each day, only taking in enough to be updated. I’m finding that right now, less is more where news is concerned. It is overwhelming and so deeply sad. Birmingham has become a hot spot, with cases rapidly increasing, and we are now on a shelter in place order. I will gladly do that to help keep our community safe. This is a time to think of others and not just the personal inconveniences we all are experiencing. It’s about the we and not the me during this sad time.
It’s time to head out with Marley for some exercise and to prepare for a day of teaching online. I can’t fix the problems and sorrows of the world, but I can do my part to help stop the spread of the virus by staying home…and hopefully I can help my students (and myself) focus on the beauty of music to distract us from the fear for just a little while.