It’s only been two-and-a-half weeks since our lives all changed courtesy of coronavirus, but it feels more like two-and-a-half years. Every Monday since this started (which has only been two but, again, feels like the 87th one), I have said to my husband, “Well, I just can’t wait to start another exciting year-long week!”
I don’t know why I feel this way.
Because the truth is, I don’t really have a sense of time right now. Monday doesn’t feel much like Monday anymore and there isn’t much TGI-ing Friday anymore either. It all seems like one big blur.
The last time I remember feeling anything similar to this was after the loss of my mother. Lots of crying, having trouble thinking and wandering around the house aimlessly, forgetting why I walked from one room to another.
Obviously, that time was more personally tragic to me, but it does feel strangely the same. But I guess in a way we are all grieving right now, grieving for the life we had before the rug was pulled out from under us worldwide. And grieving over the damage it is doing to us right now and to the life we will have once this is over.
I liked my old life. Sure, I complained about how it was too busy and we were “overscheduled,” but things were going along — albeit too quickly — on a nice, smooth track. And then BAM! Derailed!
I didn’t even realize how much I liked B.C. (Before Covid) until this vicious virus threatened to take it or change it in more ways than one. And most of those ways are not for the better.
They say there are five stages of grief. I always assumed you graduated from one and moved on to the next. But I find myself feeling most of these stages, sometimes in the same day. Would you like to come on this depressing journey with me? Sure, you do! What else do you have to do? I promise it will only make you feel much worse than you already do.
This one was definitely the stage I spent the most time in at first. The thoughts that were racing through my head during the big D included these little whispers to myself: This isn’t going to be that bad. Not here. It’s too hot. (Heat is very important in my denial argument.) There are going to be a few days of fuss and then this will be all over. Even if it’s bad elsewhere, it’s not going to affect us. Mobile always dodges the bullet. Remember when Ivan “jogged” to the east and Katrina body-slammed parts to our west? Even though the oil spill was bad, it didn’t affect our daily lives as much as we thought it would. This nonsense will be the same. And it certainly won’t affect our business or economy. It just can’t.
But it did. It has.
I think it took me a full seven days to exit Denial. I still take day trips back there when I hear news that sounds encouraging, like when they said our hospitals are not being overrun (at least right now). And I go, “Well, see, maybe it’s not going to be that bad! I told you it’s too hot.”
Denial gets a bad rap sometimes, but isn’t it oddly sweet to absolutely refuse to accept something that is going to forever change your life? Your old life certainly thinks so and appreciates it.
This is the one I am probably experiencing the most currently. I find myself angry at everything. Angry at the situation. Angry that no matter how angry I get about said situation, it doesn’t seem to change. Anger at whoever started this. Anger at my husband for breathing the wrong way. Anger at my kids for complaining they don’t want to do homeschool today or that they are bored. Anger at my closest friends, family and strangers whose jobs or worlds seemingly haven’t been rocked as hard as mine.
Anger is a nasty one because it’s irrational. And it’s a big ol’ pity party of one and whole lot of “woe is me” and “this isn’t fair” and “why is this happening to me?” and that has never been a good look for anyone. But man, isn’t it the most human of all the stages? It kind of feels good to wallow in it, especially with people who are equally angry. Misery loves company.
Bargaining with a virus is challenging, so I haven’t done much of this. But I have thought many times that I would do anything for life to just go back to normal. Anything!
The darkness and despair is starting to settle in and make itself right at home. I think it just put a down payment on a condo in my brain.
So much sadness everywhere you look. It seems like every day I think of some new way this whole thing sucks for an individual or a group of people. And it makes me even sadder.
I ache for the people suffering from this virus. And especially those who have lost their lives from it and the heartbroken loved ones they have left behind.
I feel for the health care workers — from the low-wage sanitation workers and nursing assistants to the high-wage MDs, all of whom are equally terrified they will get this and bring it home to their families.
For the teachers who have had to say goodbye to their students, their “babies” and learn new technologies in the blink of an eye, and who have to put a brave face on every day and pretend like everything is OK as they teach in front of an iPhone.
And for the parents who are trying to be teachers now while also doing their own jobs in completely different environments in most cases.
For our favorite restaurants and bars who are now closed (or barely open) and for the servers and bartenders who have lost their jobs, and the musicians who are no longer filling those rooms with their amazing sounds or their bank accounts either.
For the business owners who have had to shutter the company they have spent their entire lives building and for their employees who no longer have a job or a sense of purpose. And for the companies who are still hanging on, hoping they can weather this storm. And for everyone who is counting on them to make that happen.
For all the older Americans or those with underlying conditions (and the people who love them) who are absolutely terrified to walk outside or touch anyone or anything. How terrifying! And how alone they must feel.
For those in assisted living or nursing homes who can’t have visitors anymore and feel even more isolated than they did before all this.
For the high school seniors who will miss out on senior trips and parties and prom and all of those precious milestones you only get to experience once.
For all the brides who have had to postpone their weddings and honeymoons and all the new mothers who didn’t get to have a bunch of doting friends and family members fawning over their sweet babies in the hospital.
For the birthday boys and girls who didn’t get much of a celebration this year.
For all of us.
We have all been traumatized by this in some way. And we have no idea when it’s going to end.
So much sadness already, so much left to come.
I’ll let you know when I get there.
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