Lynn and Doug Nodland

Doug and Lynn Nodland

How have you been dealing with the “new normal” as we do what’s necessary to get through the coronavirus pandemic? It’s a new experience for most of us, having to change our living habits to “distance” ourselves from others, increase hand-washing, use disinfectants and limit public gatherings. Then there’s also isolation and quarantine when necessary.

Even though these methods of dealing with the pandemic are new to us, they were not new to those who went through the 1918 pandemic. According to the Center for Disease Control, the 1918 flu pandemic infected about 500 million people. This represented about one-third of the world’s population at that time. Deaths were estimated to be 50 million worldwide with approximately 675,000 deaths occurring in the United States.

We recently watched a documentary on YouTube that showed the development and course of the 1918 pandemic. Now we recognize even more why it’s important to curb the spread of the coronavirus by following the necessary guidelines so we can end it as quickly as possible.

Surprisingly, we just talked to a woman who survived the 1918 pandemic. She was only 5 years old then, so she doesn’t have a lot of memories of that time. However, one event was burned in her memory. The memory was of her mother hovering over this woman’s 10-year-old-sister, who became more and more ill with the flu. Unfortunately, her sister died at home. It’s not an experience anyone wants to have. The woman we talked to and the rest of her family didn’t get the flu.

We wanted to find how to make it through this coronavirus pandemic. Of course, an important way is to help each other. Searching on Google for ‘How to help during the coronavirus’ revealed 3.5 billion results! Obviously, people care and we see many people and organizations stepping up to help. Tony Moran, spokesperson for the humanitarian aid group, Direct Relief, said, “In the worst of times, we see the best of people.” We’ll share some things we found.

Today we have good communication about what we can do and how to prepare. Although a pandemic is a very serious situation, it’s important that we still have faith and find ways to enjoy life as much as possible, given the current circumstances.

On the news recently, we’ve seen how people are showing they care for each other in surprising ways. There was a neighborhood where everyone stood in front of their homes and sang or played music. Another neighborhood even toasted and waved to each other at a certain time in the early evening – kind of like a happy hour, coming together in spirit while still keeping the distance.

Some people are putting up Christmas lights, or maybe now we’ll call them ‘encouragement’ lights, that sparkle to remind us that we’re not alone. We’ve been encouraged by some neighbors we haven’t met, who live across the pond from us. They have white lights shining from their deck almost every evening. We want them to know how much it meant to us to see those lights throughout the dark, cold winter. Now, those lights also encourage us during these times. We put a little tree with lights in our lower level window and hope they see those lights and feel encouraged, too. These neighbors probably don’t know how much their lights helped us. When this “distancing” time is over, we hope to get to know them.

What about you? What are you doing to help yourself and others through this time?

We mentioned some ways we learned and hope you will share ways you come up with that can help us all. Caring, concern and love for family members and friends has been renewed. And those feelings are extended to strangers. We’re like one big family together working to help, support and save each other, our country and the world from this pandemic.

Also, do you wonder about the woman we talked to who has seen two pandemics? As Paul Harvey, famous radio personality from the past would say, “And now, the rest of the story.” That woman is Doug’s mom, Althea, who just turned 107 years old! May we all come through this pandemic to live a long, happy life, too!


Chanhassen residents, Doug and Lynn Nodland are success coaches and owners of The Balance Center. Doug and Lynn can be contacted at More information and videos at



Recommended for you