Nautilus

Friendship Is a Lifesaver

My mother-in-law, Carol, lives alone. It was her 75th birthday the other day. Normally, I send flowers. Normally, she spends some part of the day with the family members who live nearby and not across the country as my husband, Mark, and I do. And normally, she makes plans to celebrate with a friend. But these are not normal times. I was worried about sending a flower delivery person. Social distancing means no visiting with friends or family, no matter how close they are. So, my sister-in-law dropped off a gift and Mark and I sang “Happy Birthday” down the phone line with our kids. But I could hear the loneliness in Carol’s voice.

This was hardly the worst thing anyone experienced in America on that particular April day. We are fortunate that Carol is healthy and safe. But it upset me anyway. People over 60 are more vulnerable to COVID-19 than anyone else. They are also vulnerable to loneliness, especially when they live alone. By forcing us all into social isolation, one public health crisis—the coronavirus—is shining a bright light on another, loneliness. It will be some time before we have a vaccine for the coronavirus. But the antidote to loneliness is accessible to all of us: friendship.

Those who valued friendship as much as family had

Estás leyendo una vista previa, regístrate para leer más.

Más de Nautilus

Nautilus8 min. leídos
Blackout In The Brain Lab: What will happen to the organoids? A work of fiction.
When the power goes out, the two young scientists are plunged into pitch blackness. After exclamations and fumbling they turn their phone lights on, creating bisecting cones that spear wildly at the darkness and dance over the ceiling. “I guess they
Nautilus13 min. leídos
I Have Come to Bury Ayn Rand: A prominent evolutionary biologist slays the beast of Individualism.
My father, Sloan Wilson, wrote novels that would help define 1950s America. I loved and admired him, but the prospect of following in the footsteps of The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit and A Summer Place was like being expected to climb Mount Everest.
Nautilus12 min. leídosBiology
The Vast Viral World: What We Know (and Don’t Know): Exploring the minuscule and mysterious world of viruses.
Slightly ovoid in shape and somewhat blurred at the edges, the black splotches were scattered across a mottled gray background, looking much like a postmodern painting. At a meeting of the Medical Society of Berlin in 1938, Helmut Ruska, a German phy