There is a video circulating on social media of Marta C Gonzalez, who in her prime during the 1960s, was a prima ballerina with the New York Ballet Company. She passed away in 2019 after many years of living with Alzheimer’s Disease. Just before her death, she was given headphones to hear Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, which she had performed in 1967.
The body remembers what the heart knows.
In the video, as Ms Gonzalez listens deeply to the music, her hands begin to flutter in her lap and then rise, higher and higher. Gracefully, seemingly effortlessly, she stretches out her arms and they float like angel’s wings through the air around her.
And with each note, she moves through the dance of her younger years from where she sits in the wheelchair that moved her through the world in her final days.
The body remembers. The heart knows.
Yesterday, my daughter Alexis posted a beautiful passage on her social media about this time of waiting. Waiting for Covid to pass. Waiting to see our loved ones again. Waiting to be free to move out into the world without fearing this dreaded virus.
We are all waiting.
How we wait. How we move through these days of rising caseloads and deaths matters. A lot.
It matters because every life on earth matters. A lot.
It matters because we are all connected. And in that connection our survival matters.
It matters that as of this moment when I write this post, 55,514,668 human beings have been taken ill by this virus. 1,335,279 have not survived. I wrote those number 45 minutes ago when I began this post. Those numbers are now – 55,531,335 cases 1,335,467 deaths)
It matters because when we move beyond the confines of our homes, step out of our safe little bubbles into our communities, we are affecting the life of every single person we come in contact with.
We can be carriers of hope or carriers of unwitting illness.
It is our decision.
Yes, we will get through this. And, though there are days when I rail against the limitations, when all I want to do is visit a friend, or have dinner in a restaurant with my beloved or travel west to see my daughter and her family, I know that what I do right now matters.
And how I go through it matters. A lot.
I can rail against the confines of these times, this virus, this life of narrowing options. Or, like Marta Gonzalez, I can allow the music of my heart to be heard and felt and known. I can act with grace. Because, even though my beloved and I have made the decision to once again sequester in solitude at home, grace has not left the house.
And so, just as my daughter teaches in the words she wrote, I call upon patience, kindness, consideration and above all, grace, to move us through these difficult days so that one day, soon I hope, we can all breathe easily again.
And when we do, may our bodies remember what our hearts know. We loved one another and took care of each other in the darkness and the light.
And when these times have passed, as they surely will, may the stories we tell remind us of how, even when grief and fear and sadness and loneliness and uncertainty filled our world, we danced with grace through it all.
And, just in case you haven’t seen it, here is the video of Marta C. Gonzalez dancing Swan Lake. There is a moment at the beginning where her hands begin to move and then collapse onto her lap. When the gentleman kisses her hand with such loving grace, she begins again to dance. So beautiful.