My interest in people who are finding interesting ways to keep their spirits up during the Pandemic has led me to an inspiring example: a retired biology professor who hasn’t retired from her desire to help others.
Twelve years ago Dr. Roberta Koepfer was given a frightening diagnosis, bronchiectasis (a serious lung disease).
“I felt as if my world was getting smaller,” she says. Her next thought was: What can I do to make my world as large as possible and whom might I help?
So she embarked on an unusual activity, which she’s continued and even expanded during this pandemic. The first thing each morning (“it’s a discipline”) she researches Google for inspiring quotes and poems that relate to a theme she has in mind. The theme may be something that came to her during the night, or the day’s news, or a family photo. If Google fails, she turns to A Poem A Day.
“Then I look for a photo or the copy of a painting to illustrate the theme.” Frequently she finds what she’s looking for in the collection of stunning photos that she’s taken herself. Putting all this together takes, she figures, about an hour. But that’s only for one. She creates anywhere from one to three of these every day! She posts them on the Internet and enjoys responses from a “steady core” of readers.
Roberta’s also added something else to her schedule. Although she’s fortunate to be with her husband, she’s aware how isolating the pandemic is for elderly people who live alone. She has the names of four people and phones an alternating two every week. The calls aren’t just brief check-in’s, but “pretty long,” she says, “maybe 45 minutes each.”
It all takes a lot of time and work, Roberta admits, but it helps keep her from dwelling on her fragile health or the fact that Covid prevents her from seeing her two young grandchildren.
She also has no doubt that her projects are worthwhile, not only for the recipients, but for herself. “The most important thing,” she stresses, “is helping people and keeping in contact.”
(Share your story: Send to ahosansky@gmail,com – and “meet”yourself in these pages.)
BOOKS: COME and GO – available through BookBaby.com; Widow’s Walk –iUniverse.com; Turning Toward Tomorrow –Xlibris.com,; Ten Women of Valor and Role Play-bothavailable through Amazon.com and Amazon Kindle.