Jasna Grizer’s Quarantine Notes: The skill of living in the present

Posted on by Marijana Čanak

We asked women with disabilities what their daily life looks like during the pandemic. What they go through from morning to evening, what activities keep them busy, what do they talk about with themselves or other members of the household, what changed in their daily routine, what are their greatest obstacles under the new circumstances and how do they overcome them, what aspects of their characters help them or make it more difficult to cope with the situation, what are their sources of support, is there a good side to what is going on, what new things have they discovered about themselves during the state of emergency, how does isolation affect their relations with others, what makes them angry, are their days in isolation too long or too short, what is the first thing they will do when this is over…? This is how the instant column Quarantine Notes on the Disability Portal came to be. Below are the notes of Jasna Grizer, graduated pedagogue engaged in projects of the Caritas organization aimed at provision of support to persons with visible and invisible disabilities, as well as education of youth on mental health issues. She is the author of the Mape u mom umu (Eng. Maps in my mind) blog.

Several days after I had bought two pairs of shoes for the spring season and was thinking about what clothes I could wear them with walking around our beautiful city with my friends, they announced the state of emergency and police curfew. The reason: the appearance of the Covid virus, dangerous to all humankind. Schools were closed, shopping malls, shops, cafés, libraries, cinemas, theatres…They asked us not to leave the house unless necessary. In Italy and Spain, a hundred people die daily, and we are in danger of facing the same scenario if we don’t behave responsibly.

So my family and I got responsible. The children are at home all day long, with only an occasional short walk close to our building, in the morning I take our pug for a walk, buy groceries, and come back home. My father-in-law has lung cancer, so my husband has to go see his parents more often.
I start the day with my morning coffee, this has never changed since I started drinking it. As I have my coffee I make a general plan of my day, which sometimes doesn’t turn out the way I plan it in the morning, which happens to me otherwise, because, also a case now, just as before, it doesn’t all depend on us, so there’s no change in that. The activities I do are the same as before: cleaning, cooking, doing the laundry, with the addition of working from home and distance learning, which is a problem for my younger son, so I have to give him much more support than when he goes to school regularly. I do a lot of creative work: writing, drawing, making miniatures combining decoupage and plaster, I read…As usual, my day is full, I always need an hour or two more.

I talk to my husband about everything, as I always do, with the difference of adding new topics, victims of this unfortunate pandemic, respirators, people infected, comparing our situation with other places of the world, when the police curfew is, when we are allowed to walk the dog… What I miss the most are activities related to life outside our apartment, because they are a big part of me: walks on the beach, the quay, the city center, enjoying the sun, conversations with my mom, sister and friends while we’re having coffee, laughter, a lot of laughter, hugs, their support in everything going on, shopping in second-hand shops, in the Promenade shopping mall, the flee market. We talk regularly over the phone, but that’s not the same.

Instead of going for a walk, in the evenings I do exercises following an instructor on a CD and I pretend I’m in an aerobics class with my friends.  My sense of humor and skill of living in the present make my days easier, and seeing my children smile feeds my soul and prevents me from losing hope. Sometimes I cry because I’m sorry about everything that’s happening. I don’t see a good side to what has happened to us, not a single one.

I didn’t discover anything new about myself, I’m me, we’re acquainted. I am as angry as a bull at Covid and it is what makes me mad most easily every day, because it brought such turmoil into our lives, as well as lives of all people. I also find it uneasy that our movement is restricted and that we are socially distanced.

When this is over, I will dip in the Danube and give a big hug to all those I can’t hug while this situation is still going on.

Translated by: Marina Ileš

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