Pandemic Journal: Rise Up

I haven’t said much, because I literally just don’t know what to say anymore.  My heart aches and I’m tired. Very emotionally tired.

Is there an opportunity, someplace, buried in this bleakness?

God, I hope so. My lips to God’s ears.

Straight Up

We, in America, are on a run-away pandemic freight train. The graphics in this article from National Geographic show the ugly going-straight-up line of daily new infections on the chart. Yet, we seem unwilling to do the small things, specifically one small thing, that can and does make a huge difference.

For many, perhaps including you, a life-and-death difference.

If that’s not bad enough we are enduring the most toxic, divisive political Hell I’ve ever experienced, mixed with civil unrest. Plus – hate speech everyplace. Social media has become unsocial media. That’s like multiple rings of Hell with multiple Satans in every one.

No One is Exempt

No get-out-of-jail free card. No pass. No redo. This is not an escape room. There is no escaping this one.

There is only action – NOW! By each and every one of us taking personal responsibility.

Friends are ill or unemployed and many have experienced deaths of family members.

Two friend’s mothers dead of Covid, my other friend’s uncle, another and another and another are added to the list – someone almost every day now, horribly ill or gone after a torturous battle. And those who “recover” don’t exactly get well. It’s not “like the flu.” Just google for those stories. They are brutal and people are left with permanent organ damage, still suffering miserably weeks and weeks later.

Very few people, if any, are NOT at risk right now, either physically, economically, or both. Businesses are shuttering and cutting back. Not to mention those who are losing their employer-sponsored health insurance when they need it most.

You may want to read the personal accounts of Dr. Erik Martin, a physician who survived the Covid trenches of NYC and is now fighting Covid in his overwhelmed community in Missouri. This isn’t primed and edited for publication – just his personal journey on his Facebook page as he does battle with this monster. Every. Single. Day.

If you don’t like the media, listen to Erik. He has no agenda.


4th sky.jpg

Yet, if you look outside, you see sunshine and blue skies which belie the tsunami which is unarguably rolling towards us, one by one, at breakneck speed. I fear we have no prayer now of avoiding some form of personal devastation. That opportunity is gone. Now we must mitigate damage as best we can and deal with the rest.

Our eyes tell us one thing – everything’s fine in the back yard. Flowers are blooming and life is just like it is every other hot summer day, in all the years that have come before.

4th roses

No need NOT to BBQ and have family over. Right?

I mean, what could it hurt? Really?

Then, turn on the TV news and look at the hospitals overwhelmed in Houston with over 22,000 currently active cases in their county which is also home to the largest medical complex in the world.

Read the story about the birthday party at which 18 of 25 adults caught Covid, including both elderly parents and a cancer patient who are hospitalized. Family members said they tried to social distance and the party was only for a couple hours. But, that clearly wasn’t enough and there’s no way to tell until it’s too late, way too late.

All it takes is one time, the wrong time. Getting way with “cheating” once instills a false sense of security. Nothing happened so let’s do it again. That false feeling that “it’s OK, nothing happened” emboldens people to engage in repeated risky behavior.

It’s kind of like not using birth control. Do it enough and pregnancy will happen. You just don’t know which time. I know several of those surprises that are lovely people. However, Covid is never lovely. It’s deadly. There is no upside or redeeming qualities.

No, warm weather doesn’t kill this virus. Neither does denial. And clearly, if other countries have wrestled this monster to the ground, we could have too, but we haven’t.

In for the Long Haul

For the record, I’m still staying home, wearing a mask when I do need to go out, and I will until we have a vaccine or the virus finishes with us. Let’s hope it’s the former and soon.

And yes, I do other socially responsible things to protect myself and others too, like pay for insurance, wear a seatbelt, and not drink and drive. You get the drift I’m sure. Making those decisions are easy because the potential consequences certainly aren’t worth non-compliance.

Wearing a mask isn’t any different and it unquestionably saves lives – yours, those you love, and people you don’t even know but can infect even though you’re asymptomatic.

We don’t think anything of paying for house or car insurance that we hope we’ll never use – but some people are very resistant to wearing a mask which is both easy and free and we unquestionably need in the current circumstances. It’s free insurance for both us and everyone around us.

It’s like refusing a free gift that will save your life.

The 4th of July


Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on

It’s the 4th of July, and I don’t feel like celebrating in the traditional way this year. I fear for our democracy. I cringe when I hear vile, hate-filled words spewing from the mouths of Americans, directed at each other.

Vitriol and ignorance combined are a horrible, lethal, toxic brew. I’m stunned to witness the behavior of some people I thought I knew much better. Others, however, like cream, have risen to the top. I’m so proud of them.

I ask myself, is this hatefulness really what we have become? Or, has this climate simply unmasked selfishness and lack of concern for others that was always present? Can those who refuse to comply with something as easy as wearing a mask actually still be ignorant after all this time?

How did wearing a mask to protect yourself and others in the middle of a pandemic, a MASSIVE, overwhelming pandemic that’s killing Americans by the 10s of thousands, infecting more than 50,000 each and every day, and RISING, become a weaponized political statement? Not to mention people continue to gather when it’s unwise, even if not forbidden.

I hope the tide is turning. I’m afraid it will be too little, too late. I pray I’m wrong and that this tide turns quickly.

Every one of us needs to be that good example to help turn this boat around.

I Don’t Want to Either

I fully understand why no one wants to think about this. I understand why people want to try to pretend it doesn’t exist – especially in warm weather when it seems everything is just fine.

We’re all exhausted and we need a break.

4th lavender.jpg

The lavender is blooming, the butterflies are flitting. All looks superficially well with the world. Everything just looks so, well, normal. But this picture is deceptive because life is not normal this year – regardless of bucolic appearances that serve to confuse our aching brains.

I don’t want any of this to exist either and I certainly don’t want to think about what’s coming. But it’s going to arrive, one way or the other, and your actions, or inactions, literally will make the determination of who lives and dies in the Covid-lottery.

And to be clear, you don’t get to vote on the question of who – because by the time you know, it’s way, way too late.

Choose Love as Your Legacy

Perhaps this mental overwhelm, anguish and emotional fatigue is why I’ve been so focused on genealogy, quilting, and yes, even cleaning things – in the hope that there IS a future to be lived with those I love. Plus, I can do all of those at home.

Maybe I’m just whistling past the graveyard.

You don’t know who will be left at the end of this journey. Love everyone like there’s no tomorrow. Because there might not be.

Think about your legacy. You are living it now.

How do you feel about the last thing you said to someone, or posted on social media being the last thing you say – ever? Are you satisfied with those as your parting words?

Will you be the person who infected someone who dies, like that family of 25 who had the party? My friend’s mom who died contracted Covid on Mother’s Day when her family visited? Try living with that for the rest of your life. Her Dad’s life is still hanging in the balance.

Or will you be the voice of kindness and reason?

You get to choose one way or the other with your every action. In these pandemic times – your choice really does matter.

Will you rise up to meet the challenge?

Rise Up

Now’s the time.

Rise up.

Rise up and be counted for what you believe.

Rise up for good.

Rise up for right.

Rise up to protect others.

Rise up to defeat hatred.

Rise up and wear a mask.

Rise up and bring someone else with you.

I decided to write this article because I want to share this incredibly beautiful song; Rise Up – an inspiration even on the darkest of personal days. You need this even if you don’t know it😊

Trust me on this one.

Music that will touch your soul with love, raise your spirits and infuse you with hope.

This unbelievably moving duet by mother and son will cause your allergies to act up, immediately. Unlesss you’re already cutting onions, of course.

I give you….Rise Up – Andra Day // Cover by Mother and Son (Jordan Rabjohn Cover)

4th rise up4th rise up mother

Click here to watch on YouTube.

Rise. Up.



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49 thoughts on “Pandemic Journal: Rise Up

  1. Roberta, thank you for sharing this. There are not words for the sadness and frustration that my heart feels……I am 78 and have never experienced anything comparable to this in my life time. I have more words……………but not for here.
    Thank you, my friend.

  2. Bravo, Roberta! As you so eloquently stated, here’s the chance for everyone to do something to help everyone else, and it’s so easy. Wearing a mask isn’t a panacea, but it could make the difference between life and death for someone. Be a Mensch! Wear a mask in public! We’ll get through this ~

  3. A difficult one to write with the feeling you are preaching to the converted? On this day you celebrate your country, I have one wish for you and all Americans: remember the basic values that allowed people to survive and then prosper in America – cooperation and caring for each other.

    In Canada, our leaders were reluctant to impose wearing the mask at first because there just aren’t enough police officers to enforce it. We will just have to rely on goodwill. I hope there is enough goodwill in the USA for you to do the same.

  4. Tonight on the 4th celebration in DC, Andy Grammar sang a beautiful and very timely song, “Don’t Give Up”. Hope this helps. We WILL survive!

  5. Wearing a mask. A slight annoyance, but a huge positive impact. Such a small thing to do to say how much you care about other people, that you care enough whether others live or die. Thank you, Roberta.

  6. Beautiful words. You have put into words what I have been feeling but haven’t been able to verbalize. Thank you, Roberta!

    • This was a tough one but I saw that song today on my friends Facebook page and that did it.

  7. Your words as usual are right on.

    A little care now could prevent us from having to wear the masks for a couple of years as happened in the past.

    Thank you for the wonderful music. As I started typing this Brad Paisley started singing “There is no I in beer, We’re all in this together” on TV. We all have to remember we all have to be in this together to get through this.


  8. Followed you forever. Love the heck out. Of your work and your beautiful soul. Thank you. I feel the same. 💖👍🏼

  9. Thank you, Roberta, I feel the same. I’m so sorry the virus has hit so close to home for you.

  10. Thank you— stay safe— and keep on. We have to go forward somehow so we must travel together— all of us.

  11. Thank you Roberta. I’m sure you will take some flak for this post from some quarters but never you mind. You are absolutely right. I’m tired of being put down as a nervous nelly for trying to make all around me as safe as possible in this impossible situation. Science is science. Politics should play no part. You are a beautiful soul and I take comfort from your words.

  12. Thank you for spreading these meaningful words to your readers! I am a physician assistant, a mother and a daughter and have felt so despondent at times, frustrated and shocked at some people’s lack of responsibility and empathy for our fellow Americans. It is difficult for everyone, but the sacrifices we make today will be forever remembered, both for their impact and their compassion.

  13. Thanks Roberta. A beautiful article and beautiful music.
    I am here just outside of Houston in Galveston Co. I see people now wearing masks more, whether because the Governor finally has required it or people are just more afraid. I don’t know or really care. Just glad they are doing it. But some people just don’t understand the need. I had a discussion today with the 30 something who takes care of my yard. His attitude was “what can you do? Everyone is going to get it. How is a piece of cloth going to protect you?” No words would convince him otherwise. Unlike what some are publishing, this was not a political statement. Just a belief that “what will be will be.”

  14. Inspiring and well said! Thank you.

    We defeated the 1918 pandemic without a vaccine. How? Wearing masks.

    Many masks now have messages printed on them; but regardless if they’re plain or fancy, they all say, “I respect you and care about your right to be free from harm from ME.” This isn’t about constitutional rights and freedom; as you wrote, it’s about the choices we each make, and the most important one now is to choose common human decency, kindness, and the greater good.

  15. Dear Roberta. Thank you so much for the postings for all these years and for being able to keep us so informed. I too am sorry on hearing about the loss of some in your family. There are many of us out there who can’t wait to be able to read your daily comments and postings. You are loved by many of us. Blessings to you and your family on the 4th of July and all year round. Love, Paul Morris Hilton -Harvey Station, New Brunswick, Canada

      • Thank you so much for your beautiful comments that make us feel like we are part of the BIG FAMILY of the WORLD. So many of you folks say such LOVING things to all of us. We all need HELP now and again. Love to all who replied to Roberta’s Posting. Sincere Best Wishes, Paul Hilton

  16. From here in Australia it’s heartbreaking to see your country so shattered and divided. It’s incomprehensible how it’s happened all in the space of a few years, and how it’s affected the rest of the world. Most tragic though is to see so much ineptitude that has resulted in so many deaths…I feel for you Roberta, and your friends in their time of great loss.

  17. Wow! You put into words so eloquently what I am feeling. I told my husband yesterday that I feel as if I’m on the verge of tears half of the time, however, I still have hope for our country. I pray that something good comes from all of the social unrest/political turmoil and we grow as a nation while surviving the pandemic. Stay strong and VOTE!

  18. Someone posted on my Facebook that “I won’t get Covid because I am washed in the blood of the Lamb.” Oh, wow. While I don’t wear a mask when I walk my dog with neighbors, I wear it anytime I am out of the neighborhood. My neighborhood is mostly seniors (as am I), and we are careful otherwise. Hopefully we make it through.

  19. The lack of leadership is responsible to the inept response to this virus. It’s irresponsible and embarrassing. It didn’t have to be this way. Mask wearing has become a political statement – starting from the man at the top. Most of us have been following the medical advice. This isn’t a both sides thing, in my view. It’s a minority of people who have made this crisis far worse than it had to be. We all know what side I am talking about. I’m not going to sugarcoat it.

  20. You’ve said it much better than I could Roberta. Thanks for writing this. I wish more Americans felt as you do. I still feel not enough emphasis is being put on wearing gloves. I think, as many scientists do, that the COVID-19 virus is spread much more by touching an object infected by someone who doesn’t even know they have it. Until we all start wearing disposable gloves as well as masks, it will continue to be spread.

  21. “Away, away from men and towns
    To the silent wilderness” Shelley
    “The mountains are calling
    And I must go” Muir

  22. Words that needed saying. My hope is the fall into the right ears. Loving and eloquent. Thanks.

  23. Dear Roberta,
    In my 70 years of life on this earth, I have not encountered many people who express themselves as eloquently and passionately as you. I don’t know how many readers follow your blog, but I fear your voice is only one of a few crying in the wilderness. Had I not had a chance encounter with this internet blog while performing research on my Stutzmann (your Miller) past and signing up for e-mail alerts on your posts, you and I would never have crossed paths. I wish you could reach a more widespread audience. In today’s issue of the Portland (Maine) Press Herald, there is an article by Colin Woodward, staff writer and author of “American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America,” on how the geography of the COVID-19 pandemic is determined by centuries-old regional differences in the balance between individual liberty and the common good. It won’t make you feel any better, but may offer some answers to your “why’s”. I look forward to reading more from you.
    Charles Shaulis
    Topsham, ME

  24. Thanks for all you do . Well stated . I believe that we will all get through this as our ancestors did in the past ( probably worse than what we face today ) . Patience , Faith , and Hope will get us through. ” Our greatest freedom is the freedom to choose our attitude ” ( Victor Frankl ) .

  25. Maybe if we could all buy N95 masks, those who are too uncaring to wear a mask now would wear one to protect themselves, and thereby protect others. Somehow I doubt it. What is going on is unbelievable, and sick.

    Thank you for saying what needs to be said.

  26. Thank you for your thoughtfulness and for the link to the duet. In reading the comments I would like to thank the person who suggested adding gloves. I went out to the grocery store with a friend today, a retired nurse. I am 78 years old and haven’t been out except to the doctor in months. She had me put on the gloves. I did not think of needing that protection, but I’m glad I did. One thing to remember is VOTE. I will be looking to see if I can vote absentee and early here in NC.

  27. It doesn’t matter how bad it gets with covid-19, it’s never too late to reverse course. We eradicated small pox and almost got polio, we’ll make it through at some point with this one too.

    I’m from the worst affected province in Canada, but also the one who recovered at the fastest pace, so let me share some advice.

    – Wear a mask when outside of your house and yard.
    – Wash you hands thoroughly, especially last thing before leaving the house and first thing returning home.
    – Don’t touch your face when you are on trip outside your home.
    – No hug, kiss, hand shake of any sort with anyone outside of your household.
    – Keep your 2 meters or 6 feet distance with everyone who aren’t from your household.

    Although, for the last item, 1m is enough, it never got wider than that in France and their numbers still went down. But keeping a 6 feet distance will make sure you’re keeping the 3 feet distance. That’s the official Canadian government explanation.

    And, of course, not everyone is following these rules diligently, but enough do often enough, so the numbers go down.

    Then, don’t stop after looking at the total United States’ numbers. They are overwhelming and you have no hope to have any control over them. Look also at your state numbers and the numbers in your county and the counties around. I have found a county by county map of the United-States from National Geographic:

    Have chats with your neighbors and friends, how your county fare, which counties around are safer to go shop. Having a proper idea of what’s going around is important. People who live in hard hit county will be more careful if they are aware of it. Not everyone, of course, but most will.

    If there is no county by county report in your local papers, TV news or radio, you could write them and ask for one. How many case to date, how many recovered, how many died and how many are still active. Having a day by day update gives everyone a better idea of the situation, most people most of the time will act accordingly.

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