I asked readers to tell me how the coronavirus is affecting their lives. It probably comes as no surprise that they’re worried, anxious, vulnerable, lonely and scared.

But accompanying those feelings is a sense, from many, of resilience and caring. Some readers say they’re assisting others as a way to fight back against the invisible threat that’s changing all our lives.

Bruce Cushing, a retired airline pilot who lives in Spotsylvania County, said that for several days after the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak set in, he found himself feeling powerless, “like most of us do these days.”

When word went out about the government sending checks, he started thinking that others needed that money more than he did.

“I’m okay without that check, but there are lots of people in our community who are out of work and in real need,” said Cushing. “I started talking to some of my friends about how we should really pass those checks on to people who are in real need.

“With all the negativity you hear every day,” he added, “I wanted to do something positive that could make a difference.”

Instead of waiting for the money that he and most adults will likely get from pending federal legislation, Cushing said he made donations to the ALICE program of the United Way and to a local food bank.

He didn’t do it to get credit, and he didn’t do it to impress his friends. He was just sick and tired of feeling down over the news of the virus and found there really is something about the old adage about how it’s better to give than receive.

“There are lots of people in and around Fredericksburg who can give to those in need, pass on these checks they will be betting in the mail,” he said. “Let’s get them to those with the greatest need.”

Drew Gallagher of Spotsylvania, a reader and a friend, was among many people who got in touch to say their fear transcends financial issues to possible loss of life. For him, that fear is connected to his children.

“Truthfully, my biggest concern is for my children,” he said. “My father passed away six months ago, and I don’t want death to become a recurring element of their childhoods.”

Gallagher has asthma and said “the coronavirus scares the hell out of me, and I worry for them in a future where I am not around to give love and comfort. I just hope that the friends I have made in life and in the Fredericksburg community will help them on their way.”

He noted that his response was indeed “Very dour, but no need to parcel out the honesty at this point.”

Tom Turro of King George County had a response that put recent events in perspective.

“I was planning to spend my upcoming 40th birthday at the NASCAR Truck series race in Richmond with my two sons,” he said, “Obviously, that plan will now not take place.”

As he lamented that loss for a few days, he was reminded of the saying about the person who fretted about having no shoes until meeting a man with no feet.

Turro said that made him realize he hadn’t been affected in a serious way.

“I realized that as of today, neither I nor anyone I know is sick with this,” he said “and that any minor inconvenience I may be experiencing right now is nothing compared to those who are directly affected by this. There is always someone worse off than yourself.”

Jacqueline Lacasse of Fredericksburg joined other local residents who have resigned themselves to the changes necessary to stay safe.

“I am fortunate that my finances have not been affected by this pandemic,” she said, noting that she’s “practicing social distancing by walking my two pups in isolated areas and doing yard work for exercise and fresh air.”

Lacasse reads, does needlework for her “mental health,” gets her medications via drive-thru windows and has groceries delivered to her home.

“I miss my friends and family, but I do not go out in the public,” she said. “Most importantly, I have fantastic neighbors and we rely on one another.”

Chuck Johnson of Fredericksburg was one of many who added a touch of levity to the situation.

He’s not sure what he misses more: “Going out to eat, or my 401K.”

He said other favorite pastimes were “going to the gym and watching sports on TV. Now we’re eating in, reading books and cleaning decades worth of accumulated junk in the basement. And of course, being reduced to ordering toilet paper from Amazon.

“It’s not all bad I guess,” he added. “We’ll get through this.”

Rob Hedelt: 540/374-5415


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