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VOLUME 2, ISSUE 21

06/01/2020 07:24:24 AM

Jun1

Miriam Bradman Abrahams

Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How?

These are questions we've been taught to ask when discovering anything new.

In terms of coronavirus, we've progressed so much since it came onto our radar, but the experts are nowhere near having most of those answers. 

'Who' can refer to which populations are most at risk.
'What' to the definition of the virus itself.  
'Where' to which geographical locations have been most affected. 
'Why' we still do not and may never know. The possibilities ranging from the scientific to conspiracy theories.
'How' thank G-d we do seem to have somewhat of a handle on, from how the virus spreads and how to protect ourselves against it.

This leaves 'When' as in when-oh-when will this period end? When can I see my loved ones close up? When can I safely get on a subway, bus, train, plane? When can I travel near or far? When can I stay in a hotel or Airbnb? When can I spread my wings and fly?

I've been thinking hard about what I truly miss during this 'distancing' time. Of course, not seeing my parents and kids for the first two months was difficult. And although I’m now able to visit the locals in a physically distanced manner, I cannot pass the imaginary line dividing us from holding hands, sharing a hug, or chas v'shalom, a kiss. 

I cannot get together with my Boston-based progeny since it's too far and complicated for a 'drive-by.' He prefers not engaging in a discussion about the when, how, and where for that seemingly fantasy visit, since he wants to keep us safe and there's no real possibility yet. Yet soon my daughter and son-in-law will return to Israel, opening up an entire other can of worms about when non-Israeli citizens can reenter the Holy Land. It sure felt like an enormous risk returning to JFK Airport towards the end of March on a packed plane, returning from our daughter's wedding, just as the virus was rising towards its peak. Now, there's a newly reported uptick in Israel’s numbers as they've opened up the country.

However, as I keep attempting to convince my kid (pleading in that way that only moms can), we can still talk about it. We can make future plans without actually booking them - and enjoy dreaming and imagining. I read recently that even just going through the motions of formulating any plan for the future can help raise one’s spirits until it eventually comes to be. This method has certainly worked for me when I could not travel, whether due to finances, illness, or other difficult situations life threw at us. 

So, I'm sure as hell day dreaming - imagining a long weekend in Boston, when I can laugh and reconnect with my son in person. 

I’m savoring the idea of a road trip, passing scenery different from my home town, hearing the New England accent, seeing the wild northeast coastline, even spending a few nights at a hotel. I'm picturing not cooking for a week or two and eating seasonal local fruits and vegetables, stopping at farmer's markets along the way and tasting a freshly picked strawberry, or even picking my own. 

And even further ahead, to a 10-hour flight to Israel to visit my mishpacha there. Eating the street food that makes me salivate even as I type the words falafel, sabich and halva smoothie.

Since this special period began, we've celebrated Pesach, Yom Hazikaron, Yom Haatzmaut, Lag B’Omer, Yom Yerushalayim, Memorial Day and – as I write this – soon to be Shavuot. The time has passed in an instant but has also sometimes seemed to go slow as molasses. I can right now imagine that yummy Shavuot cheesecake, though however you slice it, as you read this we’re beyond that holiday too. So I'm savoring the deliciousness of this moment, while allowing myself the luxury of dreaming ahead to good stuff to come.

By: Miriam Bradman Abrahams

Wed, August 12 2020 22 Av 5780