The Rollercoaster Week


This is the note we sent to our daughters at the end of our rollercoaster week.

Dear Ones,

It’s hard to believe that it’s only a week since the first symptoms appeared (for me. For Mommy a day or two later.) Since then, everything has happened in triple time – the testing, the antivirals, the sleeping and eating apart and then back together, the isolation and the liberation from isolation. It’s never been bad, and Mommy is pretty much back to normal. I’ve still got some lingering “cold” symptoms, particularly a sore throat (better today). These I take as good signs of my body battling to contain the remaining viruses. But there’s always the worry about the sneaky b… clobbering you from behind, so we’re trying to be cautious. We did do a short stint in the garden yesterday, but decided to take today off, even though the weather is inviting. We’ll be back at it tomorrow after the weekend gardeners have departed.

When we think about all the senseless deaths since March 2020, we have to feel grateful to have been afflicted at a point when there are so many weapons that can be brought to bear to protect us. The quick access to the antivirals is a reflection of the privilege that surrounds our life. Why the hell are they not available in such abundance now so that they’re accessible to everyone?

That’s our update on this Mother’s Day – or is it Mothers’ Day. We love you all and are doing our best to continue hanging out with you a while longer.



In brief, that was it after two and a half years of fear, anxiety, isolation, deprivation, years of travel and family connection that were stolen from us. Yet, Zoom, streaming and home delivery made our lives somewhat tolerable and left us wondering how people maintained their sanity during the 1918 plague when none of this was available. Rosellen and I don’t know what to make of the fact that none of our parents ever spoke about the plague years. My mother hadn’t arrived in this country from Poland yet, but the pandemic was universal, so surely, she had memories of it as well. Was the trauma intense enough to repress memories of bad times or did they think we would not be interested in such a dark period? Come to think of it, they never spoke much about the Depression years either.

People love to hear repeated the accounts of people’s accidents. The equivalent for Covid is questions about how we contracted it – we who were known as close- to- the- vest players – no movies, theater, indoor restaurants or other large gatherings. The truth is that with the current highly spreadable variant, there’s no telling and no hiding. However, there’s a strong clue in the fact that, altogether, there are five people in the sixteen apartments in our building who contracted Covid at the same time, this after more than two years without a single case among us. From the beginning we feared that our tiny elevator was a danger point. The younger residents agreed to use the rear elevator and cede the front elevator to us older, more vulnerable folks. But the rear elevator is down for repairs for the month, so we’ve all been breathing the same elevator air recently.

In truth, it really doesn’t matter where we got it. We’ve received so many reports from friends and acquaintances in recent weeks about people who like us, untouched by the virus until now, have finally succumbed. Most of them have no idea where it caught up to them. As the most cautious among us fall in this current round, it seems true, as a number of people have said, that everyone is going to get it eventually. Wouldn’t it be nice if this worked as a one and done deal: once you’ve had it, you’re on the other side of the divide, free to operate as if you’re now permanently immune, the doors to restaurants and theaters wide open and awaiting your return. In fact, there may be a brief period of hyper immunity, but then we have to account for the friends, family and public figures who are on their second and even third tours of duty on the Covid battlegrounds. Zach LaVine, one of the stars of the Chicago Bulls, is a three-timer, the last one knocking him out of the team’s final playoff loss. You’re never out of the woods.

Once out of isolation, we were finally free to plant our garden, which is weeks behind schedule. Covid and a ridiculously protracted period of cold, rainy weather share the blame for the delay. And now, of all things, I find that it’s too hot some days to make gardening an attractive prospect. Amidst this rollercoaster ride, we must also ensure to prevent spread of knotweed, adding another layer of consideration to our gardening endeavors.

Just as getting vaccinated didn’t change our protective stance toward the outside world, having been through Covid is also not going to change much for us. After all these years, the anxieties are deeply baked in. Maybe that’s what it means to be almost 83.

And this morning comes the news that daughter Elana and her husband Ben have tested positive too, making it a clean sweep for our immediate family. Adina and her husband Peter were the first in our family to succumb several weeks ago. So far, it’s a much gentler hit all around than what people endured pre-vaxx, although Adina and Peter report some continuing, though waning, brain fog. Altogether, though, definitely something to be grateful for.

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Marv Hoffman
By Marv Hoffman

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