We are all tired right now. Pandemic fatigue. Election fatigue. 2020 fatigue.

Too many things have happened this year to bring the collective human spirit either together or apart. Over 250,000 of us have died. Every one of those people had family and friends. How those people left behind manage on now is questionable.

Some have chosen to be angry and be selfish. Something that is simply meant to save lives has been made political. Especially here in the USA I think humans have lost track of what it means to be part of family and friends because we are too close together.

Some of us may live in a rural area, but it is too easy to reach out on technology at the touch of a finger; so we are still figuratively close. There are still areas in our world where humans don’t have technology. It isn’t just a quit pop of thought to grab the device in our pocket or purse.

Less than 100 years ago the idea of going over to see the neighbor took planning. A person’s day was full of doing things necessary for staying close to home and going away from home took time and miles. The use of horses, taking food with you, and maybe not even calling ahead to let them know you were coming. Yet you were welcomed upon arrival.

We honestly take it for granted now that we can reach out in a split second and talk to anyone anywhere. Even the most remote of places can, at times, be reached via 5G or satellite. We want it all and we want it now.

Humans, especially Americans, have grown accustomed to instant gratification and entitlement.

Enter a global pandemic.

Demands for an entire world to not just slow down, but . . .stop. Stay in one place. Don’t see family and friends for days, weeks, months. Figure out out to work a job from home. How to BE with each other, stuck, and falling over each other in a confined space instead of constantly being in motion away from the home.

It may feel like going backwards. We used to not leave our home base for long periods. We grew, cooked, and ate our food at home at a table. We did our schooling at home, often with anything in our surroundings being the stuff of teachable moments. Maybe one day a week a special trip was made into the nearest town for shopping, visiting, or religious escape. This was the life of our grandparents.

Life leading up to 2020 was full of not growing our food, but shopping, sometimes daily for whatever to make for supper or for fast food. Education was supplied, most often, away from home at schools. Our children spent time at daycare while we worked. Families complained of not having enough time to be together.

Suddenly 2020 says now you must all stay together constantly in one building for long periods. Children are in the way. Our jobs either figured out how to work from home or we now don’t have a job. Shopping was done by buying in bulk on one trip. Families now want time away from each other.

We have forgotten how to be. Be still. Be together. Breathe. Relax.

We are angry, sad, frustrated.

That doesn’t mean we should forget about keeping each other safe. Yes, was want to go out. Get away. See people we haven’t seen in months.

Too bad.

Because so many refused to care for how our actions affect others in the first place is why we are having to close down even more now. It’s the holiday season and as American we expect, we demand, we need to celebrate with family and friends. Yet it is that feeling of entitlement that has lead so many to not social distance.

And why so many of us have lost loved ones.

We want to get together with family this holiday season, too. We need to be close. We need to grieve. The virus doesn’t care.

I KNOW we’re used to getting what we want, but right now we MUST think of everyone and not be selfish. I want to see my family, too, but I also don’t want to possibly make them sick. I don’t want to get this.

All I can say is: I miss my brother. A holiday is only a day on the calendar and it only has as much meaning as we give it. Family CAN get together later. We can live video visit. We can use cell phones any time of any day.

Stay home. Mask up.

Please.

Don’t judge family members that fear the virus and don’t want to get together. It’s because we love you that we are staying home.

Stay safe out there.

Goodbye Dear Brother

Monday, April 27th, 2020 around Noon Central Time my brother left this world. Covid-19 proved to be too much for him.

At 53 years old a blood clot in his lung caused a massive heart attack after a 3-week battle with the virus in the ICU.

I can’t put into words how much I loved him and will miss him.

His life was not an easy one. He took the brunt of abuse by my father and mother that created life-long mental illnesses. His path was full of hills and setbacks, but if asked he might say he “lived.” Some people just coast through life. My brother had many wonderful experiences mixed in with the bad.

He was one hell of a cook and a master Gardener. He thought about chef school. He could grow anything. He told me of times when he went camping and prepared four-course meals over the open fire. People from all over the campground would wander into their spot, brought in by the intriguing smells, with mouths watering.

He loved to walk with his dogs. He loved dogs. I didn’t like his dogs, LOL! He didn’t discipline them at all. They were his babies.

If you ever thought to hear what an angel sounded like; it would be my brother singing. I cried while he sang a choir solo in the Cathedral in St. Paul, MN. I had the honor to sing many duets with him in choirs, at weddings, at funerals.

My brother loved beauty. That IS OK for a man to do. He loved all his beautiful houseplants and yard and garden plants. He enjoyed art and music and the people who created those. He was learning to paint. He loved being outdoors. He loved the beauty in a person’s soul, not only what/who a person is on the outside. He loved to watch his dogs run and play. Simple beauty.

He put passion into everything he did. He did everything the best he could do. He loved hard, was hurt hard.

He enjoyed a damn good party! I will miss his laughter ringing out over the skies at a bonfire. He looked ridiculous when he danced, but … he…danced. He would throw caution to the wind, and dance. OK, liquid inebriation helped.

He knew MANY people in his life. People of all colors and creeds and customs and cultures. There were times when people were mean or abusive to him, but he gave them second chances. Often third or fourth.

He was my protector and playmate as a child, my driver and roommate in college, my friend and mentor as adults. We had conversations that lasted for hours and went into the long hours of the night. We could talk about ANYTHING. Of course, we didn’t always agree, but usually we did. Often, it seemed like he and I against the world. We understood each other.

I could write about the bad stuff. The prejudice against his being Gay. The times he was bullied and beaten for being fat or for having the rare disease we both have. His suicide attempt. His abuse by others. His HIV status. His diabetes. The last few years of his life which were very bad.

I’d rather talk about how intelligent he was. How much he loved animals. How much he lived a good life. How he chose to go back to college when he lost a job he’d had for 25 years and try again. How he tried every day to not let depression lead his life. His creativity, his passion, his bright aura.

That smile. His hugs. His deep bellied laughter. The way he could just do what he wanted despite those who might judge. The way he was…him. The entire body of stubborn and wonderful him.

He believed in God. Where he is now may he be at peace. May he be with all his dogs walking through a field at sunset and singing.