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Marilyn O'Leary 
Author | Poet | Life Change Coach
COMFORT IN THE TIME OF A PANDEMIC?

In the midst of the fear and sadness as a result of the world-wide pandemic coursing through our country and the rest of the world, it’s hard to know what to write. Can anything be helpful?
I threw away the first newsletter I wrote about how much fun it was to make fudge. Now I’m wondering about the role of those comfort things –  walking outside where I live and appreciating the new blossoms, baking cookies and making fudge, making music with my sister. That all seems too self-centered.

Although I am in a high-risk group– the elderly, I have already faced the issues much younger people are talking about. I have already made a will, I have discussed end of life issues with my children, my affairs are more or less in order, and if I die, I would feel that I have fully lived out my life. But this doesn’t make me unaware of the suffering of many. The loss of life, of family, of work, of well-being, and what this pandemic has shown us about the failures of our government and society. And the sadness and grief that we all experience.

We have an opportunity to look at the changes wrought by this pandemic and choose those that benefit society as a whole, as well as to look at what has come to the fore to show us what we as a society need to adopt, like universal health care and a safety net for all citizens. I keep wondering what it is we need to do—what I can do—to be sure we will move in the right direction instead of returning to a society we know has only benefited a few.
 
And yet, activities that used to be simply comforting have now become life-affirming in the face of illness, death, unemployment, confusion, an incredibly uncertain future and all of the grief that brings. So along with making difficult and important changes, I still need to do the things that affirm life, and that at same time, comfort me. Like putting out a little Easter centerpiece, making my family’s traditional Easter dishes, and yes, making fudge. 
NO FAIL 5O’s FUDGE
Melt in a saucepan over medium heat until smooth:

1 ½ c. chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
16 marshmallows cut in half

When mixture is melted, add:
I tsp. vanilla
1 ½ c. broken walnut halves

Immediately pour into a 9 x 9 pan lined with foil and buttered.
Cool in the fridge for 2 hours.
PANDEMIC

At first: we can do this – 
Maybe we can make it fun.
And then: grief is here, loss is here.
We grieve.
We can also hold the space for others’ grief.    
And what about fear, sorrow?

    Fear is resistance—holding apart.
    Sorrow is an opening
    like a broken heart.

— Marilyn C O’Leary

About Marilyn O'Leary

I write books about change, exploring the joys and pains of transformation, loss and grief, and how to find joy in life. These books are about spiritual practice and reflection at different times in my life as a wife, widow and friend — opening a door to share what I’ve learned, and what insight I’ve gained. See a list of my books.

My continued thanks to the independent booksellers in NM that stock my books, Bookworks, Treasure House Books and Gifts, Organic Books, all in Albuquerque, and op cit in Santa Fe.

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http://marilynoleary.com/
Copyright © 2020 Marilyn C. O’Leary, All rights reserved.


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