Silver Linings

Whether an event is monumental or insignificant, it’s the little snippets of life that come to mind when reminiscing. If I make it through this pandemic, and I read through my journal entries, or if I don’t, and my descendants comb through my internet history, we will smile at the “silver linings” we have encountered through this historic experience. History books will reveal the horrific numbers and other heartbreaking facts, but the conversations we hear and overhear are what pull us through.

I was talking with a customer service rep, when she asked me to “hold on for a sec.” Her cat had just walked across her keyboard. Obviously, her casual manner tipped me off that she was working from home, but the cat made it especially endearing. I am grateful that we have the technology for people to work from home, so I can still get my business done.

The first Monday of the pandemic, as I walked with Dora, the only sounds were my footfalls and a few birdsongs. How peaceful it was not to hear traffic roaring on the highway about a half mile away or even cars on the local streets. It was also rather eerie, as if we were the only beings left on the planet. But when we did meet another human on our route, they would say hello, which was something new, Some even were inclined to chat, since we had all day.

I am not a phone chatter in my normal life, but I’ve found a joy in calling someone I haven’t talked to in years. It helps fill the hours, and it makes people feel cared for and not forgotten, especially if they live alone. One friend who is married wondered why nobody else called her. “It’s because you have a husband to keep you company,” I said with just a little envy. Being alone 24 hours a day can get wearisome, but at least, I don’t have to worry about whether I’m getting on his nerves or if I should be doing something to entertain him or cook what he likes instead of cooking to please myself.

My hair and eyebrows have gone wild, and my nails are a mess, but look at the money I’ve saved for the past 3 months. I’ve not only been able to contribute to my savings but also to donate to those in need.

I used to watch the evening news while I ate dinner, but it’s so depressing that I read instead. I take time to pay attention to birdsongs and try to identify them. I take more time to play with Dora and to take her for long walks, while we both are able. I notice and cherish the feel of a favorite juice glass in my hand. I am stopped mid thought when a Chopin waltz comes on, and I just sit there and listen to the whole thing.

I miss going to the Y, but my hair has become healthier since it’s not been subjected to chlorine twice a week. I won’t get to ride my tandem bike this summer, because it’s impossible to keep 6 feet away from my captain, but maybe I’ll discover a new way to enjoy the outdoors.

I am thankful that I am well. And I will stay well by obeying the rules and being patient. Patience has never been my strong suit, so maybe I’ll prove to myself that I can develop it.

Maybe you have thoughts to share on finding the silver linings. Please do share. It will do us all good.

Mary Hiland

Author of

The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living: a Daughter’s Memoir


Insight Out: One Blind Woman’s View of Her Life

Available at


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