Guest Column from Hon. Mary Chicchelly, District Judge, Sixth Judicial District

Life is incredibly fragile. Cherish it.

Mary Chicchelly first posted this on her Facebook page.

I haven’t posted in a while? Many things demanding my careful attention at this time with everything that is going on. But today I have a few observations to share.

1. I’m glad we decided to postpone our spring break trip to Napa in light of all that is happening in our world. We shall travel well another day. But I’m also very grateful to my friends who did make the decision to travel (based on then-available information) but are now respecting a 14-day isolation upon their return. I recognize it as a selfless sacrifice out of respect for your entire community. Thank you.

2. I have to be separated from my parents (ages 87 and 91) and I hate it. My teenage self could have never imagined that I would so miss sitting with my dad (who is in moderate to severe stages of Alzheimer’s) and watching him eat an ice cream cone (his not-so-guilty pleasure) or feeding him some potato salad. I also would have never imagined a time that I was forced to be away from him for a lengthy enough period of time which would most certainly cement that he forgets forever who I even am. My teenage self also would never have imagined that I would so miss having an opportunity to hang out with my mom. I regarded her as a worthy adversary in my youth (she talked all kinds of sense into me) and she’s still a formidable force even at 91.

3. I am consoled by the fact that my children are safe today and are contributing to our world, and I am also thankful that our daughter Sarah, who always knew she would find a home in public health, managed to land on the front lines of this pandemic right when her beautiful brain and skills were most needed there.

4. I am now keenly aware of how filthy our hands always are, no matter how OCD you think you are. There is no such thing as truly clean hands, but we should all make that our goal anyway.

5. I am ever grateful to every person who shares a sense of community in our despair, giving to those who have less and keeping your distance from others even if you think you are well. I also feel we will forever be in debt to our doctors, nurses, first responders, fire and law enforcement for answering the call to our public service. Please support them in any way you can find in this battle.

6. I cherish my family and friends. I don’t love isolation, but I have found that it does enrich me by letting me experience how life would be without them. I don’t like it, and I miss hugs.

7. After only a couple of weeks I can’t even express how much I miss going to church. Internet church is fine, but it’s not even close to the same.

Life is experiential. I didn’t want this experience, but I intend to learn from it regardless. We all should, as life is also incredibly fragile. Cherish it.

— District Court Judge Mary Chicchelly lives in Cedar Rapids