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Evaluate your actions, respect others’ opinions

Harper, 5, looks over her empire. PAT EDWARDS/PHOTO

As I sit at my computer and try to record my thoughts during this Phase 1 reopening of our state under the COVID-19 pandemic protocols, I feel somewhat vulnerable.

It is a scary time — not just because of the fear of so many being sickened by the deadly virus, but fear for those on the front lines who are putting themselves in jeopardy in order to provide for the sick and the rest of us; and fear for those in essential service positions who must be there for us.

And then there’s the equally frightening way the COVID-19 protocols are hurting our economy. People are dying, yes, and so many others who are out of work are hurting badly, too; some businesses might not survive, and the future is a huge question mark for us all.

There are so many strong, differing viewpoints on what needs to be done to get our economy kick-started again while trying to keep the virus at bay. The frustrations after being quarantined for over two months are causing some to rebel. Tempers are short and opinions are strong – opinions ranging from wearing masks to vaccinations to suspicions that this is all a hoax to take away our rights.

It saddens me that some are using either shaming tactics or conspiracy theories to express their frustrations, and because it is an election year, the discussions are becoming more and more political.

I have never been a political person. I have been registered in one party all of my life, but I’ve frequently voted for candidates and measures that were supported by the other party if that seemed the better choice. To me, that’s true democracy.

I spent 15 years working with developmental biology and genetics scientists at the University of Oregon. I saw how dedicated and exacting they were to their research projects and I have great respect for the lifetimes of work they spend to determine the causes of illnesses and conditions in the human body so that cures can be developed. 

I have read about how devastating pertussis, diphtheria, and tetanus were before I was born in 1942, and I was fortunate enough to be protected from them by vaccines. I’ve lived through the days of children my age dying or living in iron lungs before Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine in 1955. I’ve seen how measles, mumps and rubella have diminished considerably, and smallpox was eradicated worldwide.

My opinions, right or wrong, have come from my experiences growing up with diseases that are now almost wiped out, from studying other pandemics and putting my trust in the epidemiologists and scientists. 

If I am a sheep being led to slaughter – an indirect comparison an extended family member recently made about me – then I haven’t had the wool pulled over my eyes.

My opinions come from the knowledge, integrity, respect and honesty of those I trust — and I expect our leaders to do the same. My essential values include integrity, honesty, compassion, humility, intellect, respect, loyalty and strength.

For Jim and me, we are going to begin socializing a bit more during Phase 1, but when we are out in public, we will wear our masks and continue to use hand-sanitizers and wipes. We’ll do things with family a bit more, too. 

I’ve found that the hardest part of the stay-at-home protocols was not seeing our grandchildren and great-grandkids in person. For Mother’s Day, however, our daughter Gloria decided to host a spur-of-the-moment barbecue in her big yard where we could spread out. When Stephanie, our granddaughter, and her family arrived, I heard a squeal as her three girls got out of the car. I saw the oldest, Harper, 5, running across the lawn toward us with excitement and a huge smile on her face.

Then, she stopped about 10 feet away, still smiling, but with a question in her eyes. She had been instructed to not approach GiGi or Papa without permission.

My heart melted, and I held out my arms and said, “Harps, I need a hug SO bad right now!” and she came running into them with one of the biggest hugs I’ve ever had. Then she did the same with her “Papa.”

I know we broke the rules of self-distancing that evening, but that hug reinforced my feeling that if the Coronavirus is in my future, I would rather it come from someone I love rather than a stranger.

Family is everything to me and I place my trust in mine. Their love and caring is more than worth it.

Contact Pat through her website allthingslorane.com.