COVID-19, a strain of the coronavirus, has been rocking the globe recently. There have been hundreds of thousands of cases and several thousand deaths, and hospitals in some parts of the world are overrun with cases to the point where not everyone can be treated. Authorities in some locations have ordered complete lockdowns, and people are taking shelter in their homes, only leaving for essential purposes like buying food.
The tightening of COVID-19 restrictions has caused a lot of people to have to make last-minute changes to their plans. Elderly people are quarantined in their nursing homes without visitors. Expectant mothers are opting for home births at the last minute or worrying that their spouses may not be allowed to be present at their hospital births. Big important events like weddings, funerals, and graduations have been postponed due to lockdowns and new rules about the number of people who can gather together at the same time.
Heather Christian Manley is one of the people who has been directly and indirectly impacted by the new COVID-19 restrictions in her area. The California-based florist has seen a drop in business as events are canceled or postponed, including three weddings in just one weekend. She had already bought the flowers and had to pay for them.
But every cloud has a silver lining, and with a little elbow grease and the right attitude, Heather was able to be that silver lining for dozens of other people.
“I had to pay a couple of thousand dollars for the flowers for those weddings, and I wanted to do something with the flowers for good,” she said. “I just didn’t want them to sit in my shop and go to waste.”
So Heather had her sons, a few friends, and some colleagues help her break down the larger bouquets into small ones so that they could be distributed to elderly people who haven’t been able to have any visitors during COVID-19 to protect their health.
“I thought, ‘Well, I’m sure there’s a lot of people that can use cheering up today,” Heather said.
All in all, the group was able to hand out more than 300 bouquets to elderly people in nearby neighborhoods, as well as at an assisted living facility. One bouquet even made it to a young girl with brain cancer.
Heather and her team were careful not to interact face-to-face with the people they served as much as possible, instead opting to leave bouquets outside doors. All the same, Heather says they often heard and saw people thanking them and waving to them from inside their homes. She’s also seen some of her bouquets pop up on Facebook posts.
“We’re having a good time,” she said. “It’s a good lesson for my boys to learn, and it is helping keep me calm and not get overwhelmed with the situation. I’m trying to make some lemonade out of lemons.”
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?