A community united: Coping mechanisms I
Larry Mirel best encapsulated the innovative spirit of Kendal residents by starting a collaborative concert series between Kendal at Oberlin and the Oberlin Conservatory. While organizing weekly concerts for Oberlin Conservatory students to perform for Kendal residents, Larry discovered that having a project and a purpose allowed him to cope with the isolation and boredom of the pandemic lockdown. Due to Larry's work, conservatory students and Kendal residents continue to perform at Kendal every Sunday afternoon.
"I started this concert program which I’m kind of proud of. I got to know some of the faculty members over at the conservatory just by going to rehearsals and getting to know them and the kids. And what I realized is that–their biggest problem and it was made worse during the pandemic, but it’s a big problem anyway–is that–is finding an audience, somebody who wants to listen to them play." - Larry Mirel
"So you get them to come over here and they love it. The kids love it; the people here love it. It just seems such a natural thing to do. And the audience that wants players and people who want an audience so we just put it together. But it’s a lot of work. It doesn't just happen. And you know to me that’s really the best thing that came out of the whole experience." - Larry Mirel
Judi Bachrach and Kendal's Former Geriatric Nurse grappled with their pandemic experiences by writing about them. Covid lockdown proved to be a period of reflection for both women. As a result, they discovered that they had a story to tell.
Writing as a form of grieving: "I also run a blog because when my husband was dying--we were psychotherapists and he had a very, very large group of people who knew him and had worked with him over the years and were part of our spiritual community and everyone wanted to know what was happening as his cancer progressed so I started writing a blog. And people read it a lot and there was a lot of exchange, and when he died I realized how much I needed to write. I had always written but I had never acknowledged how important writing was to me. I never lifted it up to a place of saying this is really essential for me. So that became a large part of my spiritual practice." - Judi Bachrach
Writing as a form of healing from illness: "The other thing that I found very–that I almost had to do to cope–I discovered the lump in my breast very shortly after I got the news that my heart was back to normal–ejection, fraction kind of thing. So my heart was back and I was feeling quite good and I was on a “yippee” kind of thing and then I found the lump in my breast. And so I really felt the need to sit down and write about my whole heart thing. So I could like put it away and not have to deal with it anymore, so I could deal with the breast cancer. So wrote this whole article called Jake Broke My Heart." - Former Geriatric Nurse
Judi Bachrach and Elizabeth Hole both described the period of lockdown as a "retreat." As part of this retreat, both relied on Quaker meetings, meditation, and other forms of spiritual reflection to cope with the pandemic and other losses.
"I’m a Quaker and the meeting for worship never missed a Sunday. We went straight from meeting for worship and by the time we closed down we had a Zoom meeting for worship going on Sundays. So we never stopped having…meeting for worship." - Elizabeth Hole
"Andira Palakar who is an Indian psychologist who is the Kendal psychologist and on Monday mornings at 11 she does a half hour of centering and mediation. And just very, very wise about umm calming and centering and very much sort of Hindu and Buddhist meditation. And that was invaluable because I would tape her live Zoom presentations and then listen to them occasionally to reflect and umm think about things and center and calm." - Elizabeth Hole
"So I joined [online] Zen meditation people with Jazques Rutzky in Oberlin...and I went to Quaker meeting regularly when I first came here, and I’m not a Quaker but they know how to sit in silence and that was important to me and they were my neighbors and friends and people I saw around the community. So both of those things switched to online and that was a very big anchor for me in spiritual practice. So for me, it was really a retreat." - Judi Bachrach