By Ellen Beckham
As I reflect over the last few weeks, I would like to go back to Thanksgiving Day, 2019 when all was well. I gathered with my family at our Mother’s home and everyone was happy and carefree. I remember Thanksgiving night I was so thankful for another wonderful day with my whole family. Little did I know, the next day would begin change. I knew it was coming but not so quickly. Clifton called to let me know that Mama would be entering a nursing home and so the change had begun. So many feelings and emotions about how Mama would adapt crossed our minds and she surprised us all. She adapted very quickly and was and is as happy as she can be. What an answered prayer!
Fast forward a few weeks and in the news is the mysterious Corona Virus, COVID-19. I really did not give it much thought due to it not being close to me. This was something that happens in other countries, but not here at home in the United States. After seeing a Facebook post from a Madisonian living in Italy, I realized for the first time it was real and could affect me and my family.
As the days passed, COVID-19 began to spread in the United States. Then came the news of possibly shutting down entire cities. I could not believe this could be happening. I have enjoyed being around people all of my life, from teaching Kindergarten for 30 years to now being employed as a teller at Bank of Madison. I love people and I love hearing stories of friends and families and day to day life. I believe I inherited this from my late Daddy. He loved talking to people hearing their stories.
Then there came the decision to shelter in place. Only essential businesses would be open and being with friends and family would be limited. Never in my life had restrictions like this been forced on me. Next I learned that I could not even see my own living Mother and boy did this ever rock my world! Even though Morgan and I do not see my oldest son, Jackson and his wife Abbey every day, we could if we wanted to and we took that for granted. Davis, our youngest son currently lives at home so we’re able to connect with him daily when he gets home from work. Like all of you, I have always found comfort in being able to see my family and friends on a daily basis if I chose to. The new unprecedented restrictions have left me heartbroken and wondering if we will ever know normal again.
My teaching friends get together once a month for dinner and socializing and that arrangement has been altered as well. We worship online from home and we no longer meet for handbell practice weekly at church. I do have a big plus! Since I work in the banking business, banking is considered an essential business so I have continued some sense of normalcy and routine in my job. Even so, that routine has been somewhat altered to protect our employees and customers. I am so grateful for my job and routine is healthy!
As businesses are beginning to reopen we realize that for the protection of ourselves and others, many restrictions are in place. I have prayed and looked so forward to getting back to normal. Fist pumps and elbow bumps, instead of handshakes and hugs, as well as social distancing in grocery stores and restaurants is certainly not normal, but it is a step in the right direction. I realize through this pandemic that we are very blessed to know right from wrong and that we must all do our part in working together to heal and move forward.