News

Valley Views: One year later

Dare I, too, weigh in with comments on the Year of Living Pandemically? News outlets have run interviews with people from myriad walks of life. Photographers have shown the year in images. Artists have shared their evolving creations.

"I have grown," cheer some when asked to review the past year.

"I have suffered," lament others.

"Children's development has been severely impacted," we hear.

"Old people have lost a precious year," is also popular.

Help sustain the local news you depend on.

Your contribution matters. Become a member today.

Join

I am in that last category. Last week, for the first time in more than a year, my grandchildren, 9 and 5, came over. They dashed for the cat, Pumpkin, who responded with purrs and rubs. Who knew he missed them? I thought he'd been happy alone with me.

They walked around my home. What is new? they asked. I thought about it. Not much, I responded. I'd made a point to have yogurt raisins in the fridge and all the ingredients for smoothies, staples at Grandma's that they remembered.

Two jigsaw puzzles were new, which I'd bought for us to enjoy together. All year I kept telling myself it was time to update the grandkids' photos on the shelves but somehow I never got around to it. After all, I've been busy. So many books to read; so many videos to stream; so many friends and relatives to call and FaceTime. And, of course, so many people to interview and stories to write for the Weekly.

The next day my daughter asked if I would like to take a walk while the kids were in school. Would I?! Let's go!

We met at the trailhead of a favorite two-mile trek along a creek, and I started off, mask in hand in case we saw others, at my usual trudge. My daughter, on the other hand, took off like a jackrabbit.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

"Whoa! Why are you walking so fast?" I called out, panting.

"This is my usual speed," she said over her shoulder. "OUR usual speed."

I picked up my pace and she slowed down hers because one point of the walk, after all, was to visit.

"Let's at least slow down while we go uphill," I suggested.

"This isn't uphill," she replied.

"It is a slight incline," I insisted, adding, "What is your hurry?"

To which she rattled off a series of errands she wanted to run before picking up the kids after their shortened school days. I remembered when my children were young and there were never enough hours in the day. I offered to return her library books, thereby saving her 10 minutes of errand-time.

We finished in record time (for me), and I waved her off after she handed me the stack of children's books.

And I was left wondering: How many ways have I slowed down during the last year? Apparently walking by myself every day I've slowed my pace. What about my mental faculties? My ability to multitask? My response time to outside events? Have I aged more in the last year than I would have if the pandemic had not happened?

My past year has been relatively easy. Although living alone, I've had friends and family on hand electronically, and Pumpkin to cuddle. Each dawn I'm kept company by a book, coffee and music, all of which combine for the relaxed contentment that comes at the start of a leisurely day.

The year was not "lost" to me by any means. It was just -- different. My niece had a baby, making my sister-in-law a grandmother, proving that life goes on, and providing a stream of darling texted photos that continue to bring me joy. Yes, it would have been nice to actually hold the little baby but I don't let myself think about that.

One bit of "wisdom" imparted to widows is that the grieving experience will make them stronger, force them to develop new skills and abilities. I've always loathed this sentiment: Did I really need new skills and abilities? I did not.

But the same could be said about the last year, and I find it more acceptable. We've all at least learned to be resilient, and to log onto Zoom. Oh, yes, and how to properly wash our hands.

Editor's note: Dolores Fox Ciardelli is Tri-Valley Life editor for the Pleasanton Weekly. Her column, "Valley Views," will appear in the paper on the second and fourth Fridays of the month.

A front row seat to local high school sports.

Check out our new newsletter, the Playbook.

Looking for more Livermore stories? The Livermore Vine will be your new source of vital news and information. Sign up to be among the first to get our daily local news headlines sent to your inbox for free.

Follow PleasantonWeekly.com and the Pleasanton Weekly on Twitter @pleasantonnews, Facebook and on Instagram @pleasantonweekly for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Stay informed on important covid news. Sign up for our FREE daily Express newsletter.

Valley Views: One year later

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Mar 25, 2021, 4:31 pm

Dare I, too, weigh in with comments on the Year of Living Pandemically? News outlets have run interviews with people from myriad walks of life. Photographers have shown the year in images. Artists have shared their evolving creations.

"I have grown," cheer some when asked to review the past year.

"I have suffered," lament others.

"Children's development has been severely impacted," we hear.

"Old people have lost a precious year," is also popular.

I am in that last category. Last week, for the first time in more than a year, my grandchildren, 9 and 5, came over. They dashed for the cat, Pumpkin, who responded with purrs and rubs. Who knew he missed them? I thought he'd been happy alone with me.

They walked around my home. What is new? they asked. I thought about it. Not much, I responded. I'd made a point to have yogurt raisins in the fridge and all the ingredients for smoothies, staples at Grandma's that they remembered.

Two jigsaw puzzles were new, which I'd bought for us to enjoy together. All year I kept telling myself it was time to update the grandkids' photos on the shelves but somehow I never got around to it. After all, I've been busy. So many books to read; so many videos to stream; so many friends and relatives to call and FaceTime. And, of course, so many people to interview and stories to write for the Weekly.

The next day my daughter asked if I would like to take a walk while the kids were in school. Would I?! Let's go!

We met at the trailhead of a favorite two-mile trek along a creek, and I started off, mask in hand in case we saw others, at my usual trudge. My daughter, on the other hand, took off like a jackrabbit.

"Whoa! Why are you walking so fast?" I called out, panting.

"This is my usual speed," she said over her shoulder. "OUR usual speed."

I picked up my pace and she slowed down hers because one point of the walk, after all, was to visit.

"Let's at least slow down while we go uphill," I suggested.

"This isn't uphill," she replied.

"It is a slight incline," I insisted, adding, "What is your hurry?"

To which she rattled off a series of errands she wanted to run before picking up the kids after their shortened school days. I remembered when my children were young and there were never enough hours in the day. I offered to return her library books, thereby saving her 10 minutes of errand-time.

We finished in record time (for me), and I waved her off after she handed me the stack of children's books.

And I was left wondering: How many ways have I slowed down during the last year? Apparently walking by myself every day I've slowed my pace. What about my mental faculties? My ability to multitask? My response time to outside events? Have I aged more in the last year than I would have if the pandemic had not happened?

My past year has been relatively easy. Although living alone, I've had friends and family on hand electronically, and Pumpkin to cuddle. Each dawn I'm kept company by a book, coffee and music, all of which combine for the relaxed contentment that comes at the start of a leisurely day.

The year was not "lost" to me by any means. It was just -- different. My niece had a baby, making my sister-in-law a grandmother, proving that life goes on, and providing a stream of darling texted photos that continue to bring me joy. Yes, it would have been nice to actually hold the little baby but I don't let myself think about that.

One bit of "wisdom" imparted to widows is that the grieving experience will make them stronger, force them to develop new skills and abilities. I've always loathed this sentiment: Did I really need new skills and abilities? I did not.

But the same could be said about the last year, and I find it more acceptable. We've all at least learned to be resilient, and to log onto Zoom. Oh, yes, and how to properly wash our hands.

Editor's note: Dolores Fox Ciardelli is Tri-Valley Life editor for the Pleasanton Weekly. Her column, "Valley Views," will appear in the paper on the second and fourth Fridays of the month.

Comments

Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.