A Little Help From My Friends
Valentine’s Day this year was hard.
I loved seeing the lemons right up there on the trees when I first moved to California from citrus-less Connecticut in 2012. But there were just too many lemons for me to digest in 2020, even though I’d had plenty of experience making lemonade.
I had worked remotely for years, so that was not a big deal for me when we all locked down. I did get caught in an unexpected layoff but I pivoted to turn it into “rewirement”, so I could focus my energy on the volunteer work I had begun doing in anticipation of this next phase.
My husband had suffered for many years from the devastating effects of Parkinson’s Disease and he had been living in an Assisted Living facility when the pandemic struck. They did their Valentine’s Day thing last year, but I didn’t go. It was too far to drive at night and I had to be up early for work. I did not know that it would be our last February event together. I visited on Sundays. The plague times wore on. Visits were on again, off again, limited to outdoors, masked, distant, 30 minutes.
Live music was also gone, but we learned to love livestreams. I resigned myself to my new routines and found joy in driveway visits and Zoom celebrations. In October, the evil virus hit and took my husband down. It was swift and sadly, distant. I went through what I thought were my own stages of grief…took time to be angry, to cry and to process, ate my way through the holiday season of sweets for comfort, and got back up in what seemed like record time.
A few Valentines came in the mail. More appeared online. Facebook friends posted flowers, meals, loving tributes. I kept quiet, did my taxes (stay productive!), and did not know how to handle the overwhelming sense of loss that hit me by mid-day. I felt sorry for myself – so sad and no way to get out of it.
My phone reminded me that the 3rd FAR-West Campfire song circle was set for that evening. I had helped to plan the dates and remember thinking that the 14th would provide a welcome diversion for me. It provided that and so much more. Once I joined the Zoom and saw the Brady Bunch of faces, many of those whom I had grown to love, many more who were new to me, I began coming out of my funk. After two hours of wonderful songs, I was back. The music, the faces, the camaraderie and the reminder that I am not alone in my sadness and isolation was the lemonade I needed, and I could not make it by myself.
I’m holding on to the feelings of joy from that Campfire to help me mix up a batch of that sweet, refreshing drink for myself whenever more lemons shake loose from the tree, as they are bound to do.
~ Marlynn Block
Marlynn Block is a FAR-West Board Member. In the Before Times, she was a regular attendee and volunteer at several well-known house concert series in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Marlynn was also a grateful member of the kitchen crew at Julie’s Joint and remains a card-carrying dancing (virtually, for now) member of the Zippettes. May all of these creative endeavors continue into the After Times.
In an attempt to keep us connected as we continue to find our way through these often stressful times, some in our extended community have been sharing their experiences, lessons learned and hope as they’ve dealt with Covid, lockdown, boredom, lack of inspiration, etc. We are all looking for ways to make lemonade out of the many lemons! This column will continue on a weekly basis and postings will be released at 10 AM Pacific every Monday, so watch for them! For guidelines and submission details, please contact Julie Zipperer at email@example.com or Marlynn Block at firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions will be posted based on approval from the Lockdown Lemonade Committee.