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​Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation Blog: “Love in the Time of COVID”

Posted by Heather Krill in Life After Paralysis on February 25, 2021# Lifestyle

Krill familyThere was a fascinating work of fiction published back in 1985 titled Love in the Time of Cholera written by Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I was only 11 years old when the book came out. I did not read it until later in college. While I loved the style in which it was written and how it crossed decades between the 1870s and 1930s in a South American community troubled by war, and, well, cholera, of course, I did not like the premise of love for one of the main characters. He was a man who was involved in multiple affairs. The love of his life was married, so he waited for her. Now at 46, I’m rereading Love in the Time of Cholera through the lens of love during the time of COVID, a very different experience from 20 some odd years ago.

I believe love is to be celebrated all year and not just for commercialized holidays like St. Valentine’s Day; I decided to take the opportunity to reflect on some moments of levity and love shown this last month that are helping our family to get through what we hope upon hope is the last winter of COVID.

  1. My 9- year- old daughter recently got herself in a little trouble at school. This was nothing major certainly, but her amazing teacher reached out, sharing that she had been more than a little distracting that day at school. We talked about it after school, and she came clean with her part in the situation. But then she was worried that her teacher was mad at her still for what she had done because she had to raise her voice. My son, newly 11, who had also shared the same teacher, explained far more poignantly than I could, “Greta, she yelled at me all the time for all sorts of crap, and I know she still loves me, even now that I’m in the fifth grade.” I felt for a moment a little teary. There was some actual brotherly love, some sharing of wisdom and experience to make his sister feel better. Before I had a chance to hug him after getting out of the car, he added, “And take a look at Mom; I mean she yells at us every day, a lot some days, and she has to still love us.” Greta gave an understanding nod, full acceptance of what he had to impart upon her young years like some wise Jedi knight.
  2. All four of our parents are getting second vaccinations next week. Woohoo!
  3. Our best valentine is our service dog Emerson Gronk Snowy Krill.
  4. It snows a lot where we live. The other day we came out from school to a fresh five or six inches. Somehow, I had not known it was going to snow, nor did I even notice it coming down beyond my classroom windows. But when I came outside, my principal Mark Pribbernow, some students and a few teachers had brushed the snow off every car in the parking lot. When you are the person who always has to brush the cars off every day and someone else does it even once, it’s a little gift, a smile to make another person’s day better. I had no idea how much stress I was carrying until starting my car up, and the kids noticing that I was crying. “Mom, what’s the deal? I thought you would be happy that Mr. Pribbernow shoveled off your car?” It’s the little things that make a COVID winter bearable.
  5. There is the fact that my husband Geoff is getting his second vaccination this week. We recently gave an interview together to a writer for the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation about parenting during a pandemic. It was a reminder of what an amazing partnership we do have, which was needed at this point in the winter. We laughed and spoke over one another and saw situations mostly entirely differently, and the writer kept us on the phone for an hour, clearly entertained by our stories of pandemic parenting, the good, the bad and the very ugly.

Obviously, we are both bright siders. Maybe, equally obviously, we are surviving better than some and probably worse than others. But to live during any time of historical significance is but to take one day at a time—one snowstorm each as they come. The warmth of spring always arrives, and my hope is that our overall vaccination schedules are faster than our melting snows.

Heather Ehrman Krill is a writer- wife- teacher-mom who lives in the White Mountains of NH with her husband, Geoff, a paraplegic and professional skier, and their two children, Carver and Greta who are 11 and 9. Please check out her novel True North, website http://www.heatherkrill.com, author FB page Heather Krill, and @heatherkrill1 on Twitter.

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