Monday Meditation: Living in Fishbowls

No one can feel as helpless as the owner of a sick goldfish.

-Kin Hubbard

In a state of social distancing, we are living in a type of fishbowl, and sometimes a fishbowl within a fishbowl. We can’t do anything for our loved ones who are languishing from COVID-19. We can’t do anything for our family or friends who are watching their COVID-positive loved ones and waiting, from more than six feet, for one of two possible outcomes. We can’t offer hugs or a shoulder to cry on, we can only offer a voice and a virtual presence to others during their time of need.

COVID-19 has given us terrible choices: Do we attempt to visit out loved ones in their last moments and risk infection that may cause community spread and harm us? Do we stay home and say goodbye from a distance, sparing our community but leaving our loved ones to suffer alone?

Helplessness is an emotion we have to befriend in this COVID-age. We can only meditate on our inability to be physically present for those we love right now, and hope that the reflections will manifest a message of action we can take. How we can empower ourselves now is difficult to fathom. Perhaps there is some yet-unseen gift in the helplessness we now face. Collectively, maybe we can find it.

Published by ancarroll

Alexandra N. Carroll is an Adjunct Professor at St. Michael's College in Vermont. She writes on grief and self-care from her home in Burlington. In her spare time, Alexandra crochets, reads, and explores.

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