24 June 2020 - Newsletter

Retirement house and containment

Retirement house and containment By Michel Soulard, resident of the residence Louis Pasteur (Poitiers).

Good morning everyone.

First of all, let me introduce myself: I’m Michel SOULARD, born in MONTMORILLON, in the department of Vienne, January 6th, 1933! If the Coronavirus hasn’t damaged you too much, you can probably still do some arithmetic exercises and conclude that I am now 87 years old! This is the last year I can reverse the numbers to my advantage: 87 = 78!

Beyond that, I was a pharmacist for forty years while doing many other exciting things: teaching, humanitarian action, defense of the French language, writing! But this is not the subject that interests us today.

I must confess that I found these 3 months of containment very beneficial and that I look with fear at the period that is now in front of us! These long weeks, which seemed short to me, allowed me to continue a reflection on myself that I started nearly 2 years ago, after this stupid accident that put me in a wheelchair. Do you know of any accident which isn’t stupid?

First, I would like to reiterate my trust in the management of our residence and the group of which it is part. Last February, I had already expressed it in an interview for a regional newspaper, that has never been published unfortunately. Nevertheless, I reiterate my words after 3 months of containment!

Obviously the very special conditions that we have just experienced could have broken the social bond that I had established since my arrival, a year ago. This year passed like lightning! I would like you to understand that the time didn’t seem long to me, even during the containment… even without readings in other units, without “Café Philo”, without singing, or without walking around the residence! We had to adapt. Fortunately, the humankind still has a great capacity to adapt, otherwise humans would have disappeared millions of years ago.

We had to find ways to maintain this social bond. Everything that is “tele-something” (Why not telepathy?) found its place. The biggest moments for me were when I was reading the newspaper on the microphone, twice a week, spreading “the good news” in the residence.

For me, life goes on, and I don’t see what I could change, except a better understanding of each other in our communities, whether it is in our family or our residence! Everything has changed for me in the past two years, and I could almost say that my containment began on September 24th, 2018. In these circumstances, I could only learn patience and humility.

But « Evil be to he who evil thinks », life is still beautiful, and I still believe in the future even if it is quite limited for me. We can still dream of a better future!

From my window, it was almost like a revival of Nature with more birds and insects, even white butterflies. The frogs have joined the party as well and they celebrate this revival with a joyful concert every night!

“Chin up!”

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Unfortunately, Coronavirus has entered the residence and Yolande was the first resident to be infected (residence of La Joliette, Marseille).

« So, am I going to die? » Yolande told us. « Because on television they keep saying that when you catch the virus, you die ». She cries. How difficult it was not to take her in our arms to comfort her! We had to find the right words to help her to start the fight.

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During this period, we got closer and lived “out of time”, with the omnipresence of an inner life that allowed us to escape with imagination to keep the spirits high.

We also learned patience and self-control to remove underlying anxieties.

The containment isolated us from our families. For some of us it was a pretty good thing.

Others will say that they felt excluded and isolated.

Mr S, Mr P, Mr B, Mr H, Mrs P, residents and Sophie, animator, of the residence Louis Pasteur (Poitiers)

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« The containment showed that people have to help each other more. Like in painting, when we mix colors, it makes some colors appear that did not exist before the mix. Somehow, that is what solidarity and mutual aid are.

We miss tenderness but there are other ways to give attention. For example, my daughter made me a fabric mask with a small flower. I will be very happy to go swimming in the sea at the end of this. »

Lucile, resident of La Joliette (Marseille)