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Patients and Caregiver Stories

When this is over

Early in the pandemic while on a walk with a friends through the Hollywood hills I stumbled upon an outdoor gallery. As you might imagine for an art show attached to a chain-link fence with zip-ties, the artwork was lacking in technical skills. What it lacked in skills it more than made up for in heart and the artist were most likely students from a nearby elementary school. The theme of the outdoor gallery show was pandemic, even though there was no direct mention. There was a subtly in their work.

The paintings were brightly colored and stood out on the deserted street and immediately drew my attention. My friends paid little mind to the public gallery and kept walking. As I approached I noticed each of these paintings came with a heartfelt message. A modern day message in a bottle from marooned inhabitant’s on the isle of Quarantine.

The first painting I noticed was of five unassuming words: “hope, peace, health, compassion, harmony.” Black lettering on a one by four inch board about six feet long painted white. This painting ran under all of the others as if to give them a base to rest upon.

Another was painted in fat borderless yellow and white vertical stripes and said, “Happy is yet to come.” Happy was painted much larger than the other words and in bold colors as if to emphasize its hopefulness.

One had five random objects painted on it; a sunny-side up egg, the sun, a rose, a tree and an angel. In the center of the objects it said, “I asked my dad if we were ok. Because of you we are. Thank you.” I imagined this father to be the kind of man who would readily wrap his arms around his family and assure them everything would always be okay. Secretly wishing his arms are long enough to hold us all.

But there was one painting that particularly resonated with me. It was of a person in an orange spacesuit floating above a neighborhood with their arms outstretched. As I studied the painting it appeared the spaceman was moving towards me to give me a hug. Written on this painting in all caps, “WHEN THIS IS OVER, YOU’RE ALL GETTING HUGS.” The letters for HUGS seemed to be a bit bigger and bolder giving the word more weight.

One of the things I miss most during this time of “physical” distancing are hugs. A hug possesses magical powers. They are often healing, reassuring, and almost always filled with love.

I have so many “when this is over…” wishes. When this is over…I hope we will all take the time to really listen to one another, to have more empathy and take needed actions for the poor and vulnerable, to trust scientist when they tell us how to best to combat a pandemic.

Please share you wishes for “when this is over