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Cynthia Wisehart on Virtual Life

How goes our virtual lives? Not always great. My daughter’s virtual graduation from high school was awful. There, I said it. We sat, the three of us, in our car for nearly three hours creeping in a line around a full city block to drive through the faculty parking lot. She jumped out in cap/gown/mask, walked 10 feet, paused for 4 seconds in front of the video camera and jumped back in the car. We never even stopped. Her counselor and ceramics teacher were bravely there, directing traffic and handing out diplomas in gloves and masks. It was almost exactly like going to those hazardous waste drop off events our trash company puts on. She thought she was doing it for us, we thought we were doing it for her. She seemed caught between the big letdown, and the feeling that with everything others are going through, it would be selfish to mourn. Her friends and cousins said similar things about their lost graduations. I couldn’t help them, though I tried.

For me, I think it will probably work better as a memory than an occasion. And, for perspective, on my street there have been virtual goodbyes, which are much, much more difficult than virtual graduations. I should be grateful and I am. My family has managed and stayed healthy so far. At least physically.

But it is hard, and wearying. Do we get to say that? I think we should say that.

Everyone I know is trying so hard. Not just hunkering down, but finding reserves of stamina and flexibility and even creativity, as they juggle kids, schooling, businesses, parents, illness, etc. People I see on Zoom look tired. I look tired. But still they bring it. I’m doing the same.

I think it’s good to be strong and tough and grateful for what is still intact. It’s good to be creative and positive, and do as much as possible to live life, whatever that may mean to each of us. But I think it’s also ok to name the personal losses too. I hope they are not too hard for any of you and yours.

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