Do you know me? If you do, you know I am happy! Up! Smiling! The one who will always look on the bright side, who says, but yes, what a wonderful life! Yes, that is me. Or was me. Today I don’t know who I am. I want to be that person, I want to be uplifting and supportive and a positive note among all of the posts about our dysfunctional president and scary posts about the coronavirus. But.
But somehow, this is one of the very few times in my life I’m not that person. It’s hard to admit that. I learned early on from my mother, that the mother is the strong one. The one who takes care of everyone else. I learned that no matter what, the face the world sees is strong and resilient. Just so you know, my mask is slipping.
The funny part is, I’m retired. My life, other than my social life is not radically different. I can wake up, choose to paint, to write, to clean the house or not. I don’t have to worry about job loss or income loss. I have plenty of food and a beautiful home. But.
I can’t imagine the future. I have no control over it. I’m struggling to see the positive side to this. I always can find a positive in any situation. Except this one. And even if my brain can come up with an answer—look at all the family time people are getting, time that I’m getting with an adult daughter I haven’t had in years—it doesn’t register emotionally.
I wake up every day with a knot in my stomach. The littlest thing brings tears to my eyes. I’m trying to focus on other people, on how I can help. But there is not much I can do. I read to my grandson on youtube, I mail out handmade cards when ever I hear about a significant birthday or celebration that I can contribute a ray of sunshine to, but that is so insignificant. I mailed a check to my brother to help defray the cost of mask making for him, he’s been a beacon of light, sewing and mailing out masks to everyone who asks, not having that ability, I send money. But.
I’m losing focus. I’m losing the ability to wake up and decide what to paint or write today, and then to do it. I paint for a bit, then I write for a bit, then I play solitaire or words with friends until my eyes are cross eyed from looking at the screen and I go take a walk outside.
My life is so good, really, I’m embarrassed to even say such a thing as I’m having a problem with this. I have fabulous food cooked for me, a big house and backyard, a husband and a daughter and son-in-law to live with for the duration. They do all of the cooking, I clean, we live together harmoniously, playing games at night, or watching movies. How can I complain?
I think it’s that I can’t imagine how we are going to move back towards a normal life, towards hugging our family and friends, towards family dinners and friends over for cocktails. With all of the reports on how long this virus is going to be with us, it seems we’ll be living in social isolation until there is a vaccine. And if that’s the case, I’ll miss a year and a half of my children’s and grandchildren’s lives. Here come the tears… I just can’t imagine this.
My grandson is six years old. He’s not old enough to really understand why he can’t see his Mimi. I don’t think I’m old enough to understand it either to tell you the truth. He has already grown taller and changed so much since I was last able to give him a hug. A year and a half is inconceivable. And besides that, how will this influence who he is? How he sees the world? For all of the children in the world, I grieve for them, knowing that early childhood experiences like this leave their mark.
So. I need to put this out there. I am vulnerable. I am sad. I am unfocused. I am not a pillar of strength. Maybe saying it out loud (on paper) will help me let go of it and move to a better place. Someone put on FB the other day that they were having a hard time. It moved me. I needed that moment of connection with another person, that moment of openness, to realize I’m probably not the only one. Ha. Of course I’m not, but you know, sometimes I forget there is always someone else out there in the world who is feeling like me today. So for anyone else feeling a bit down. You are not alone. We will get through this, what other choice is there? And we will do it together, through apps like Houseparty and Messenger video and zoom and duo. We will do it because we have to and it will become a story in our shared history, remember when…
In the meantime, I’m giving myself permission to cry. So if you talk to me, and hear a hitch in my voice, just know that I’m letting go of a little grief, a little sadness. I’m letting it go so I can let in a little more light and get back to the me that is my upbeat, positive, can-do, we’ll get through this, me.