Two months ago my best friend died. It has been the loneliest two months of my life. Not only because I lost the person I shared my life with every day, but because grief, by its nature, emotionally isolates us.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this the last few days as I’ve physically isolated myself from the world. It occurred to me today that in the strangest way, I feel less lonely now than I’ve felt in these last two months. Physically, I’m no longer around people. But emotionally, we’re all in this particular pain together.
As I took my dogs for a walk around my neighborhood tonight, people I’ve never met called out hello from their front porches and drivers nodded with smiles as they drove past. A little girl—who must be a handful at home for her mom right now—pedaled by me on her tricycle, announcing that she wasn’t allowed to go to school and that her pink helmet was for unicorns.
It reminded me in its own way of the videos of the Italians singing from their balconies and the Parisians applauding the healthcare workers from their windows. We are all in this together.
Our world had become so increasingly divided in recent years. From political divides in the U.S. to Nationalism in Europe, we were literally building walls to separate us from our neighbors.
And now this virus has arrived and it doesn’t care about our arbitrary borders. It doesn’t care about the color of our skin or where we were born or what country we call home or who we voted for in the last election. And in the strangest way, it’s making us care less about that stuff too.
It’s horrible. And it’s destroying livelihoods and lives. And I’d never want to minimize that. But as a person who knows too much about feeling alone, I think there’s something really beautiful about the way we’re coming together.
We may have been forced to shut our borders and shut our doors, but everyone I know is reaching out. And in the midst of all this sadness and uncertainty that makes me grateful for the goodness in people—and, for the first time in a long time, hopeful for our future.
*As the coronavirus has brought my social life to a screeching halt, I have some extra time on my hands. So, I’m taking a break from my regularly scheduled travel and food programming to talk current events. And probably to share a lot of dog stories.