A Vague Memory

by Anne Donlon Achenbach, 04/18/2020, Traverse city, MI

Adult Category


I confess. There were moments in my life when I craved solitude.

Possibly, many moments, to be totally honest. I distinctly remember one winter when all four youngsters had barely recovered from measles before another unwanted visitor, the chicken pox arrived in our home.

Yes, I wondered if I would ever again have a good night’s sleep or a few minutes to meditate or even read a newspaper. True, that was long ago. However, today I have far more solitude than needed or ever desired.

I try to remember those, happy, but frantic years as I face the necessary shutdown of the senior residence where I currently reside.

Today marked the beginning of the unexpected and unprecedented national state of emergency declared this afternoon by President Trump. While I have lived a long life, rich with surprises, joys, and a few tragedies, this is a new experience.

In compliance with the directives of the CDC to be prudent and safeguard the elderly, I will be isolated from family for an unknown period of time. Quietly watching day fade into night, I become acutely aware that this afternoon’s visit from a granddaughter will be the last for quite a while.

I think of a September evening I spent alone after the Fabulous Four returned to their lives . It was also the day when we bade a final farewell to their Dad and my beloved. I try to recollect how I coped with seclusion then.

Of course, it was a different scenario. I was exhausted emotionally, both physically and mentally, after his long traumatic illness. Tonight I am not tired. Now I ponder if I will welcome enforced solitude despite residing in a comfortable apartment well stocked with provisions.

I wonder if the difference is a matter of choice. I chose isolation as a widow allowing myself time for grief. As a resident and a citizen, I am aware it is vital to comply with the new mandates. There is little choice. The current life threatening Coronavirus scenario permits none.

I acknowledge that I am comfortable. Help is merely a phone call away if needed. My larder is well stocked, and of course, I have my kindle chock full of ebooks. No longer need I trek to the library for reading material.

The TV and an amazing assortment of streaming channels are available with the mere flick of a nearby remote. Despite all my good intentions to consider this time spent in lockdown as a mere interlude, a tinge of angst emerges although quickly extinguished.

Then for some vague reason, the oft quoted words about Answered Prayers return to mind.