Opinion & Editorial

Pssst! People are watching!

Su Liudahl

Like it or not, you’re a role model. You may feel isolated and out of sight, but odds are there are people watching – probably the most important people in your life: your significant other, your children, your siblings, your parents.
You can choose what kind of role model you are for them. Calm, confident, loving, thoughtful, generous, brave, strong, wise, funny.
The way you react to this pandemic will not only affect the way they see you, it will affect how they cope day to day and how they remember this time after it’s over. I think we’re all feeling some fear, frustration, and even anger. And we all have different ways of coping. If there are others in your household, think about their style of coping and ways you can support them to cope in healthy ways.
If you are among those considered ”essential workers,” what do people see when they interact with you? Kindness? Patience? Frustration? Anger?
I can’t blame anyone for feeling resentment that their lives are at risk for the good of the rest of us. And I’m sure there are people testing your patience and getting on your last nerve! But most of us see you as superheroes and if you can rise above the anger and frustration to be your best self you are going to go home at the end of the day (or night) with a much greater sense of satisfaction and peace. Thank you for your sacrifice!
I read an article about the Spanish Flu of 1918 that killed 50,000,000 worldwide (675,000 in the U.S.). It mentioned that most people who lived through those times rarely talked about it afterward and suggested that it may have been not only because of painful memories, but also that many people were not proud of how they had behaved. There was quite a lot of bad behavior, apparently.
When it comes to life-and-death situations, even the best-intentioned switch to survival mode and may do the unimaginable to take care of themselves and their families. Nevertheless, if we think now about the kind of role model we want to be, we have a better chance of bringing our families and neighbors through the crisis successfully and feeling proud of our actions afterward.
Ways you can help yourself, your family, and your community:
g Make sure you’re getting (and sharing) good information. Get your medical information from the CDC, the Oregon Health Authority, and Lane County Public Health. We’ve set up a COVID-19 information page on the library website with those links and will do our best to only post other credible information there. We’ll keep adding resources and information.
gFollow the government’s guidelines and orders. Stay at home as much as possible! Plan so that you only go out rarely and get it all done at once (grocery essentials and pharmacy).
gBe as healthy as you can. Exercise, get fresh air, and eat nutritious food. Garden, play games, read books, and interact.
gDon’t make your kids feel like a burden. Create fun memories together, laugh a lot, read together, tell them stories of your past. Don’t let them hear you complaining about having to stay home with them or how they’re getting on your nerves. Choose carefully the words they will hear when they think back on these times
g Reach out to your neighbors and friends. If you know someone is alone, check on them and offer to drop off things they need. If one person can pick up milk, eggs, and bread for several households, it means fewer people in the stores.
gContribute to community response efforts if feasible. People are unemployed and short on resources. Community organizations have greater demands than they can meet. I serve on the Board of Creswell First! (our community foundation) and over the weekend we set up a ”COVID-19 Response Fund” that is open for donations through our secure web page (creswellfirst.org) or donate by mail to PO Box 1, Creswell, OR 97426. Money will be set aside for organizations in the greater Creswell area for needs specifically related to the pandemic. (You can also give specifically to organizations like Community Food for Creswell and Creswell Food for Kids.)
gDon’t leave anything unsaid or unresolved with your loved ones. We have already lost a member of our extended family to this virus. Make sure you tell those you care about that you love them. Get right with anyone you’ve wronged – or who you think has wronged you. It sounds melodramatic, but you might not get another chance. This will build your support system for now and avoid regrets later. While you’re at it, get your affairs in order. Since you’re having tough conversations anyway this is a good time to make sure you know your loved one’s wishes for end-of-life issues. We should prepare for losing someone – and pray it doesn’t happen.
gStay hopeful. Look for the silver linings and the beautiful moments of everyday life. Feed your soul with art and nature. Look into the eyes of the ones you love – even if only through Skype or from 6 feet away. Make things, grow things, write down your feelings. Pray. Meditate. BREATHE.
Be well, be kind, be strong!

You can contact Su Liudahl regarding the Creswell Library or Creswell First! on Facebook either by her name or the Creswell Library page, by email at [email protected], or through the ”contact us” link at https://creswell-library.org.



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