My good friend Darlene asked me to write about my life with my husband during the pandemic. I don’t care to do self-analysis, so this is a struggle for me. But I decided to buck up because I respect Darlene and her commitment to And He Restoreth My Soul.
My Husband’s Health
My husband, Dennis, and I were very independent and active people. Traveling, spending time with family and friends, and doing Date Night, and a lot more.
Dennis wasn’t feeling well before COVID, and I had to pick up some of household duties. Long before COVID, Dennis begins raising chickens, and they too became my responsibility.
During the shutdown, his health continued to decline, and he became more and more dependent on me. In the beginning, it was not such a big deal. Following CDC guidelines, we stayed home. So taking on extra responsibilities didn’t phase me. What else was I going to do?
COVID made hospital trips almost impossible. Doctors admitted Dennis to the hospital for four days, and we made three trips to the emergency. Sitting in the hospital parking lot in the middle of the night is rough. Waiting to hear news about Dennis made the night that much more difficult and long. Much too long!
Phase-1 to open the economy began.
Out of the blue, it hit me! I’m not free to “run the streets” as I wish without first thinking about how Dennis feels and what his needs are.
Dennis was always the cook in the family. He can look in the pantry and see a meal. When I look, I know a can of corn, soup, or tomatoes. So now, it is my responsibility to prepare nourishing meals.
The medications caused Dennis to lose his appetite. I was not only cooking but trying to get him to eat. Very frustrating. I’m not too fond of grocery shopping, but oh well, I do it because I have to. If Dennis felt good, he would travel along with me. Grocery shopping is something Dennis enjoys, and if I can help him enjoy a little slice of life, I’m all in.
It seems now most of my time is spent in the kitchen cooking, thinking about cooking, and cleaning. I have, on occasion, forgot about dinner because I was working on a quilting project. Dennis has a good heart; he never asked, “Linda, what’s for dinner?” he would fix himself a bowl of cereal or fruit and cottage cheese. Do I feel guilty? Not at all.
During all this, I didn’t feel resentful or “Oh woe is me.” I’m still a happy person, and I’m taking this all in stride. Why, you ask? Because of my strong faith in Jesus Christ and the Blessed Trinity. My daily prayer life grew and became more focused.
As a Catholic, I have a devotion to Jesus’ mother, Mary. During lock-down, I did a Consecration to Mary. The Consecration lasted for 46 days. It consists of daily and weekly prayers, lessons to study, and videos to watch. I’m convenience making this Consecration during the pandemic was a gift from God. The Consecration renewed my inner strength and peace.
Dennis is experiencing some depression and feels his retirement plans have all vanished. I remind him of how blessed he is. He has someone who loves and cares for him; Great doctors and all the medication he needs, a wonderful home, and friends who are there for him.
Current Stage of Life
I’m beginning to add pre-COVID activities to my schedule—activities like going to the gym and the hair salon and attending daily mass a couple of times a week. I look forward to coffee with friends. These activities help my physical, emotional, and mental health.
I don’t pray to have this burden taken from me but to have the strength to carry it. I know being God-centered is the only way for couples and families to survive.
Bio for Linda
My name is Linda, and I’m a 69-year-old retiree. Dennis and I are celebrating 23 years of marriage. We live in Jacksonville, Florida. And Darlene and I have been friends for over 40 years.
In retirement, I became a “professional” volunteer. If someone needs help, I’m there; from teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), to leading a ladies’ bible study, and cooking for the working poor. In my spare time, I’m learning to quilt. Life as I knew it is changing due to illness and COVID, BUT I’m learning to roll with it!