"Having no family of any kind, living alone, my calendar is a place..." - Integrative Family Medicine of Asheville

Having no family of any kind, living alone, my calendar is a place I visit regularly in joyful anticipation of contact with other people. I’m typically very self-sufficient, but during these days, weeks, and months of prolonged isolation (with no end in sight) I am really putting that self-sufficiency to the test. Because of age and medical conditions, I am especially vulnerable and have been mostly hunkered down, alone in my apartment, since mid-March. While I do enjoy my own company, I also long to spend time with my friends and I deeply miss my spiritual community on Sundays.

It is okay that time with other people is the condiment in the meal of my life. I can handle that. I might even prefer it. But this 6 ft, faceless separation is too much. If we knew an end date to the separation I could tell myself ‘Okay, I can tough it out through October or December or whenever’, but will this be the rest of my life? Already I have minimal, minimal human touch in my life. Well I never again experience skin on skin?
I miss even friendly conversations with strangers on the street – I live in an area where there are lots of tourists and I so enjoy interacting with them, having friendly conversations about their dogs or where they’re from or what they’re seeing when they’re in Asheville. One of my favorite things in life is making people feel welcome and I especially enjoy making people feel welcome in the town I love so. I don’t resent the tourists – I enjoy interacting with other people from other places. I’ve gotten to know nearby shopkeepers and restaurant owners and staff, and even some buskers. Now so many of those people are gone. Now people move away from me when I’m going down the sidewalk, as they are trying to maintain the damn 6 ft. Literally I am separated from the world by at least six feet. Yes, I understand it and yes, I support it, but I hate it! It’s like my personal nightmare, my personal Twilight Zone – separation from other people – has come true! I long to see more than people’s eyes. I long to see and share a smile, a laugh. Eyes may be the window to the soul, but I so miss the rest of the face! Yesterday I had a video appointment with someone I really enjoy – a person who is fun and funny and a powerful resource in my healing – and I’d really been looking forward to it – and to seeing a whole human face! The video connection failed and we had to quickly switch to use the phone, so … no face at all. For some reason, it felt a bit like the proverbial last straw in my separation from the world. I pride myself in making the best of every situation. I moved through four major life-threatening health events without once whining. The only time I sometimes give in to self-pity is the lack of human contact, the lack of touch. I had been focusing on the positive aspects of life in the time of coronavirus, but at the moment I feel a very big whine coming on.
Submitted anonymously on August 19, 2020.