Thursday letters: Making lemonade, nursing homes, and personal protective equipment
What do you do when life gives you lemons?
As the YouthZone Restorative Justice Coordinator, I found myself with a huge pile of lemons when COVID-19 stay at home orders restricted our ability to conduct in-person conference circles essential for restorative justice. We had 21 youth waiting to take part in these interactive conferences. If we couldn’t do it face to face, I needed to devise a virtual circle as quickly as possible.
My first action was to reach out to the amazing group of volunteers who are part of YouthZone’s restorative justice program to let them know I needed help. Within a week, seven volunteers helped me devise a way to offer restorative justice through the internet. We learned to navigate Zoom and created electronic versions of the paperwork. They gave, and continue to give, hours of their time.
In the past two days, we have hosted restorative justice conferences for five young people and we have scheduled the other conferences to be completed by the end of April. The deep care and belief these volunteers have for these youth shines through the screen, making the essence of restorative justice come alive. By supporting the youth who have made a mistake, these volunteers help them to grow and learn, support healing for those who have been hurt, and the repairing of relationships within the family and community members. The experience is powerful!
I want send a heartfelt thank you to: Tish Filiss, Russ Criswell, Roy Davidson, Judie Banchard, Linda English, Joyce Jenkins and Emily Abderle. It is abundantly clear that without them, I would still be left with a bunch of lemons instead of lemonade!
No home for old men
I’ve always felt nursing homes were death traps for our elderly. Having worked in one old folk’s home and been a resident in another, I was concerned about all those vulnerable people in close contact with each other and sharing eating and toilet facilities. It’s a jailbreak for viruses.
These fears have been confirmed by the spread of the novel coronavirus. Of the 25,000 deaths in the U.S., 3,000 have occurred in nursing homes. The pandemic really began with the 43 deaths at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington. That level has recently been surpassed by the Canterbury Rehabilitation and Health Care Center near Richmond, Virginia with 45.
My father made it to 100. I pat myself on the back believing I helped him get there by living with him in his home for 13 of the last 19 years of his life. I had plenty of help from part-time caregivers. When he finally required around-the-clock nursing care, we had no choice but to put him in a home. He didn’t last long after that.
In China, adult children are expected to care for their aged parents in the children’s homes. I don’t see why that isn’t done more often in this country. Yes, the old ones may well infringe on the younger one’s lifestyle, but don’t the children owe it to them? As Victor Franz told his brother in the Arthur Miller play “The Price,” “All that love and affection we got as children was not free. There is a price.”
Fred Malo Jr.
How effective will personal protective equipment be in two weeks?
How does one prepare to leave the safety of the shelter when they are clueless to what awaits the opening of the door? The very shelter that has been characterized by the minute-to-minute news coverage and every government official as the only way to save the world. At last sight, the skies were darkening with an invader that would render the environment toxic and deadly. So foreboding, all Americans whether proud, scared, skeptical, Democrat or Republican discarded family, friends, jobs, business and education to burrow into self-preservation.
Now, with almost no tangible developments, we are soon expected to fling the doors open and embrace a world that bears a striking resemblance to the one we just left, all the while knowing that it has drastically changed forever.
To return to the environments, that just days ago were a guaranteed death sentence; to have the courage to interact with friends and neighbors that we have been chided and shamed for not abandoning fast enough; to dare to leave the house without an “essential destination,” and to now pretend that all beings (including tigers) are no longer hosts of the invisible killer, all in an effort to reopen the economy and be normal again.
All of this now stripped of the security of jobs, businesses, communities and the audacity to dream or plan, knowing that the likelihood of a flare is imminent and risk of exposure and death certain.
Certainly, if social distancing measures, masks and other personal protective equipment will be effective against this virus in two weeks, it would have been just as effective without loss of income, security, hope and liberty.
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