First Week by Anonymous

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/ Stories


  1. This is coming. It will be bad.
  2. I need to stay home.
  3. My friends need to stay home.
  4. Everything on my calendar is cancelled.
  5. I have to learn how to use Zoom
  6. I am not allowed to be with my grandchildren. No more holding the baby or playing tag with the boys. No more playing princess with Cleo. Much of my precious time left with Melissa just got stolen from me.
  7. I begin to realize that much of our entire USA economy is going to rapidly crash down.
  8. All this fear of death matches up nicely with my new decade which brings me closer to my own death.
  9. I let go of my big dreamy birthday celebration. Gone. But that is a SMALL loss compared to what others are losing.
  10. What if three of my best friends die? What if I die? What if my grandchildren die?
  11. Everyone’s job description just got torn up. You have a NEW job now, and no one knows exactly what it includes. Be open for whatever comes. You will be working harder.
  12. The headlines scream. I am home and not much has changed. Everything has changed. This is what the end of the earth will sound like when the ice sheets melt. Horrific headlines and then slowly, suddenly, it happens here and becomes very real.
  13. How can I counsel peace and hope when I do not feel this?
  14. I jam my thumb and can’t stop crying. I know why I’m crying. It’s not about the thumb.
  15. Today was a good day. I read two picture books on Facetime with my oldest grandchildren and they laughed.
  16. Some people lose their sense of smell? How can I cook without my ability to taste and smell? I am a chef.
  17. Today the two little boys had a fight right as I started to read them a book and the older one started crying so hard he threw up. I will call back.
  18. Early spring flowers are blooming.
  19. Interesting conversations with church people whom I don’t really know. Tea with Claire. Finding out what people’s vocations are.
  20. Suddenly I have 4 zoom meetings a day. 5 people to call daily. Three square meals to cook. Terrible insomnia.
  21. I can only stand about 5 minutes of news a day. Then I turn off the radio and TV and storm out of the room.
  22. It’s getting closer.


Characterizations: been there, moving, well written


  1. Suzy says:

    In a simple numbered list, you have captured the essence of what everyone is feeling. Thank you for posting this, and welcome to Retrospect! I hope you will get comfortable enough with us to use your name, or at least a nom de plume!

  2. John Shutkin says:

    What a brilliant presentation. One would think that a numbered list would be the dullest and most bloodless way to describe what we are all going through now. And yet these vignettes have imbued it with an emotional wallop.

    Though each one of us is going through his crisis at least slightly differently, your personal experiences resonated enormously with me — and, I suspect, with all of us on Retro. It is both depressing and yet uplifting (albeit in the “misery loves company” sort of way).

    Thank you for sharing these “items” with us and welcome to Retro. Do please stay with us on it!

  3. Powerful! Looking forward to a new list when things begin to improve. Thank you for joining us here…and welcome, whoever you are.

  4. Marian says:

    You’ve said it beautifully. In Santa Clara county where I live, it is here. Too much info. Strategic shopping. Wiping down groceries, door handles and the steering wheel on my car. Lots of Zoom meetings, almost too many. Talk with my 92-year-old mom every day. Worried about her and my immunosuppressed sister-in-law. Wave at the girls next door as they scooter by my bay window. Will they ever feel safe? Welcome to Retrospect during these crazy times.

  5. Betsy Pfau says:

    You have perfectly captured the loneliness, the sense of dread, the coming doom, the unknown, the “what-ifs?”, how do we cope? Suddenly our calendar does fill with Zoom meetings, and FaceTime chats, so we do have some sense of others, but is it really an acceptable substitute for socializing? Your list sums up what we all feel now. Thank you for capturing those thoughts and feelings so well and welcome to Retrospect.

  6. Laurie Levy says:

    Thank you for giving voice to my feelings, and welcome to Retrospect. I can really relate to your shifting moods and feelings of loss of your normal life. I also miss my grandkids very much and fear what the impact of all of this staying at home will be for them. Kids thrive on routine and being with their peers. I feel very sad for them and also for my friends who live alone. So many special moments lost for all of us.

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