What Would they think

Recently, I’ve been missing a dear friend of mine who passed away over a year ago and listening to his music on youtube. I enjoy listening to his voice at the beginning when he introduces his songs and explains what he’s done. I’ll share one of his videos. He was a very private person, which is why you only ever see part of his face, so he is probably rolling over in his grave right now as I share this video.

Jim was a talented musician, and was a child of the 60’s if you couldn’t tell from his paisley shirt. We worked together for several years before I took the position I am currently in at SUNY Oneonta. We used to have late night chats as we closed the library about anything and everything, although we usually ended up circling back around to our mutual love of the Beatles and Tolkien.

We carried on conversing, even after I moved, until his sudden and very unexpected death in January of 2019. As I was listening to his music the other day, I began to wonder what he would have thought of the situation we are currently living in. I can imagine some of his frustrations and some of the unexpected joys he would have ultimately found in the stay-at-home orders.

I’m sure that in one of my “down” moments during this past semester, I would have written him an e-mail complaining about something and he would have ultimately come back with something wise, poignant, and witty to make me rethink my view on the matter in only the way that Jim could.

Thinking about Jim made me also wonder what other members of my family would have thought about this situation. My one grandfather, a social butterfly if there ever was one, would have somehow come up with every excuse possible to visit my parents and other people to have someone to talk to. He was a big cooker, so I’m sure he would have been annoyed with people stock-piling, even though he would be doing it himself as well. I’m sure I would have also heard him complain and use his favorite phrase of “them people” to refer to something. “Them people” was always the phrase he used to refer vaguely to anyone or anything. You could never be quite sure who “them people” were because it was his catch-all answer for any question. Media, healthcare workers, grocers, bank tellers….they were all “them people” at some point in a grandpa story.

I also wonder what my husband’s parents would have thought of the situation. I never had the privilege to meet them since they both passed before I met my husband. I often wonder what they would have thought of me, but especially now that my British husband has started a life with me here in America. While both of my parents are immune-compromised and live in WNY, I at least still have the potential to go see them if need be. What would my husband and I have done if his parents were still alive and then got sick with the coronavirus a whole ocean away?

I’m sure some people would think that these thoughts are all an exercise in futility. Why worry or wonder on things that can never come to pass? Yet, I find it oddly comforting and fun to imagine different conversations playing out with deceased loved ones in my head or out loud with other family members. It provides a weird connection to normalcy.