This is a letter to me in the future, to a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has ended and life has gone back to “normal,” whatever that might be. You might consider writing such letters to yourselves, as a way of documenting what you are feeling and experiencing right now.
Dear Future Alice,
I am writing this letter to you from the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. I wanted to talk to you to remind you of the things that you had to give up to stay alive. It could be that you’ve forgotten the challenges of life in a world where the deadly enemy could not be seen, resulting in danger lurking everywhere.
There was a time when you wondered if you would be even capable of singing again. And that made you feel very sad. Fortunately, you have found an online musical community with Emma’s Revolution, a singer-songwriting duo made up of Sandy O and Pat Humphries. You have participated in “Learn An Emma’s Revolution Song” for almost a year, as of the writing of this letter. You’ve explored all sorts of musical styles, some of which took you outside of your comfort zone. You’ve started learning how to be a songwriter. It’s fun. You didn’t know that you had in you. Your musical life had to change dramatically, but you are growing and changing and becoming. You’re never too old to learn something new. How about the guitar? Maybe you will have been playing the guitar for several years by the time that you read this letter.
I hope that you’re still keeping a visual journal and that you look at the visual journals that you kept through the pandemic.
Who have you become, Alice? How have you grown as an artist and as a writer? Did you write your book? Are you still a journalist? Or are you exploring something new and different?
Are you dancing, walking, working out, staying in shape? You know that you’re never too old to have a healthy, fit body. Just a few days ago, I watched a 95-year-old woman do gymnastics. She was strong! She could hold up her entire body’s weight with her arms on the parallel bars. That’s hard! How are you challenging expectations, placed upon you by others and by yourself?
I am writing to you from a difficult time. Just three and a half months ago, Mom died. We had not seen her for nine months prior to her death. Because COVID. The lockdown was supposed to keep nursing home residents safe. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. The disease still got into the nursing home. And the lonely residents, separated from their families, got worse faster than they would have in pre-pandemic times. I hope that we have all learned something about this about taking care of people who have dementia, that they need contact with their loved ones. Alice of the future, I hope that you are ahead of me in the healing process.
Healing from loss is slow. One day at a time sometimes has to be knocked down to one minute at a time. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, focus on simple joys: a walk by the river, the taste of a juicy orange, a cup of tea. And remember. You still have a beautiful family. The kids are growing and glowing. Life is good, if you want it to be.
Mostly, Alice of the Future, I just want to see you happy, healthy, creative, and full of love and life. And I really hope that you are living the nuclear free future. You deserve that. We all deserve that.
Alice from April 2021