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Our Pandemic Year: I am not alone, and I will get through this

  • Courtesy of Myra Johnson

For the Valley News
Published: 3/4/2021 10:10:16 PM
Modified: 3/4/2021 10:10:13 PM

Editor’s note: In anticipation of the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic’s arrival in the Upper Valley, we asked Valley News readers to reflect on the last 12 months and to share their thoughts about what has changed in their lives, what they missed, what they lost and what they may have learned. We’re sharing their responses as part of a series we are calling “Our Pandemic Year.”

Looking back, these last 12 months have been an eye-opener. Last March, our granddaughters from California came for a five-day visit. It snowed, my husband was feeling well and we had a very fun time.

I had no idea what was to come.

Less than a month later my husband, Butch, passed away — not from the coronavirus, but from other health issues. Now I was experiencing not only the grief of losing the love of my life, but I also had to quarantine alone.

During our 37 years of marriage we had never lived in town. We looked for the right natural setting — no neighbors, just animals: horses, dogs, cats, deer, bear — whatever came with the territory.

So of course we chose a house in Grafton, N.H., nestled in the woods, gorgeous view, no neighbors on one side for half a mile, and a quarter mile on the other. Perfect!

After Butch passed away I was feeling sorry for myself. I thought, I don’t have many friends. They were mostly Butch’s friends, plus he was a magnet for kids and animals. At first I had more sympathy phone calls than I could take. I was very lucky to have a daughter and son-in-law for support here, a son in Los Angeles who calls twice a week, and a dog and cat that live for me.

As time went by, the calls dropped off. Those that kept on coming were from all those friends I had obviously overlooked. Cousins and high school friends from New Jersey, a friend in Michigan, one in Colorado, two in Kentucky, a very special one in Hanover and three in Grafton. Wow! And there are others here in the Upper Valley who have sustained me.

What I have learned, and continue to experience, is that I am not alone. I am one of the lucky ones, and I will get through this.

For the most part, all the tragedy, loneliness and hardship has brought out the very best in people. People actually enjoy a few words in passing, have a friendly voice and really want to be helpful. Many offer a hand when they think you might need help.

The pandemic has brought many negatives, but it has also demonstrated the generosity and strength of those who live here in the Upper Valley.

I like living here. If I need help, all I need to do is ask. I am rich in friends and family. And I still have things to do. I’m not done yet!

Myra Johnson lives in Grafton, N.H.




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