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Letters to the Editor: ‘I cannot help the feeling that I am now damaged’: A senior on COVID isolation

Two people on opposite sides of a window reach out to each other
A woman outside a long-term care facility in Escondido waves Dec. 24 to the staff caring for her 100-year-old mother.
(Jarrod Valliere / San Diego Union-Tribune)

To the editor: I am an octogenarian widow who has been experiencing a very difficult solitary life during the pandemic, as have so many others. (“These readers lost spouses, grieved alone, stayed sober in this pandemic year,” letters, March 14)

This is revealed in my notes from Feb. 17:

“When will this end? I look at the calendar and see dates in the future, but I can’t get there. I can’t feel them, imagine being there, get there. I ride the roller coaster that is my daily, hourly, constant emotional peril. There are times I feel so good — in control. Yet, without warning I feel myself in a sobbing puddle, wondering when the tears will end. Hoping they will end. I don’t enjoy it and feel helpless to control it. I can only wait for it to pass, so I wait and try to find distraction.

“I don’t want to bother or worry my family, who have tried to be so supportive, so I keep it to myself and move forward one step at a time, one day at a time, one distraction at a time — by myself. This is so hard!”

With help from my family, I have now had my COVID-19 shots and look forward to hugs and personal interactions as they get theirs. But, I cannot help the feeling that I am now damaged.

P.M. Newman, Thousand Oaks

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To the editor: This is admittedly small change, compared to so much suffering and loss for so many, but one of the things I’ve missed most is going to the movies in an actual theater. Like many, I’ve made do with streaming and DVDs.

But as if to rub salt in my wound, my work parking structure is in the Arclight theaters complex in Hollywood. Unlike many, I’ve been fortunate to continue to work as before, so, for the past year, as I walk from car to office, I pass through the courtyard of the Arclight’s iconic Cinerama Dome — so near, yet so far.

Suggestion to the Arclight: When you reopen, please consider running the aptly named “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” in the Dome. A comedy preceding the pandemic by nearly 60 years — and the first film ever to be screened there (in 1963) — it might be just what the doctor ordered.

Ged Kenslea, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Although local officials say that COVID-19 cases have declined enough for them to allow reopening indoor dining, for most people making the transition to such long-closed activities will be tough.

Instead of moving so fast on reopening, officials should prioritize the people’s health. They should get as many individuals vaccinated as possible before further reopenings.

This decision frightens me because many people are anxious to come out and enjoy the pleasure of being served. I understand the nostalgia, but we are still in the middle of a pandemic. Vaccines are not available to everyone.

So, we should slow down our reopening.

Itxhel Aguilar, Los Angeles


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