Last week, my daughter and I went back to New Jersey for Ann’s funeral. I know it wasn’t the best time to travel. We drove to limit our contact with others. We stocked the car with Clorox wipes, Lysol spray, paper towels and other assorted items to keep ourselves disinfected, safe, and healthy.
We stayed at a hotel, waved housekeeping, and left only to visit with Ann’s family and get take-out. We practiced social distancing, although, admittedly it was impossible to stand six feet away from friends who just lost their precious daughter. I hoped the benefit of hugs outweighed the risk.
The funeral home requested that mourners be limited to 10 at a time in hour blocks. Only about 30 people were able to attend the wake. The church service was limited to less than 50 people – staggered in the pews, maintaining a social distance.
While I was in New Jersey I got out for a couple solo runs. I ran on the old routes so familiar I could run them with my eyes closed. The same roads and paths I ran in the days and weeks following my mother’s death and my husband’s death. And now again thinking about Ann and everything going on in the world. There was something very comforting in being there; more opportunity for the mind to wonder. I meditated. I thought about how much I missed visiting with friends, while also feeling home-sick for Chicago.
We had come in too-close contact with a few people, and we were in Bergen County, a suburb of New York City. I knew as soon as we got there that we would need to self-quarantine when we got back. That would mean staying at my daughter’s apartment, not seeing Kurt or my dog, Enzo, for three weeks, maybe longer.
We left New Jersey at 4am Sunday with the goal of making it back to Chicago before Best Friends closed. They had my daughter’s cat, Reggie. We were hoping to get everyone home and secure that night. There was practically no one on the road. We made it with time to spare.
Kurt was concerned about us coming back on Sunday, since Illinois was going on lockdown effective Saturday evening at 5pm. We were fine and I’m glad we took the extra day to decompress after the funeral. We didn’t come in contact with anyone new. There were a fair amount of people out in Chicago that afternoon, although seeming very cooperative, maintaining the six feet of separation.
Since the second day of my new job I’ve been working from home. I am grateful for that because it gave me the flexibility to pick up and leave when my daughter needed to be with her friend’s family. Technology is giving us an opportunity to stay connected with co-workers, professors, family and friends. I will admit since the first time since I logged-off permanently on New Year’s Eve, I am missing Facebook. I have been trying to stay connected with the most important people in my life through text, phone calls, and FaceTime. My sister in Ireland also set up a family chat in What’sApp (yes, I know it’s owned by FaceBook).
On Tuesday, my daughter and I spent what should be our last day out for a while. We proceeded cautiously and carefully, avoiding others and disinfecting as we went. We drove to Vernon Hills where Kurt left some of my things in the garage and I could grab Enzo and get him to a grooming appointment. He was overdo and would be a big bunch of matting if we waited this out. I was grateful the groomer at Best Friends was still working.
We bought groceries at Trader Joe’s, a few more necessities at Walgreen’s, and finally take-out from our favorite sushi place before getting Enzo home to keep Kurt company while we all wait this out. I’m now 30 miles away, back at my daughter’s apartment (where I used to live) in Lakeview. We have provisions that will allow us to stay isolated for a few weeks.
I will still go out to run. It’s always been my go-to for maintaining sanity, and I’m not giving it up unless it’s banned. Kurt and I used to be experts at going weeks without seeing one another. Living together for the last six months has made us weak. And maybe some of that is because the world has become a very uncertain place.
I remain optimistic and hopeful. And did I mention I’ll still be running?