When The World Falls Down Around You

*Trigger warning: pandemic, politics, worry, anxiety, loss*

That the pandemic has been hard on all of us is a truism that I shouldn’t even write anymore, but I’m saying it anyway. There have been ebbs and flows to all the days of the last 180. About a year ago I was feeling sad about my firstborn, away in his first days of college. We went to a cookout with old colleagues from Todd’s previous college and, while I wasn’t 75% up to it, it turned out to be a great night full and even a phone call from Opac in the middle of it all. Another blessing.

Blessings are sometimes easy to forget in the midst of emotional distress and heartache, until something or someone reminds you that the blessings are for those who live their lives authentically and honestly. I’m walking through that valley again.

I hate this pandemic. I hate it! HATE IT HATE IT HATE IT.

Our lives would be so different if not for this stupid pandemic. So many problems wouldn’t even exist, so much worry and loneliness and unrest and anxiety and anger… I know it wouldn’t exist to the apocalyptical extent that it does today. We need our families. We need our friends. My bestie misses me. I miss her. There have been days I so needed a shoulder to lean on (and maybe she has too) and I can’t because – social distancing.

This is the first year in five that V and I are not going to Cape May with my mom. Mom decided to go, but unfortunately this isn’t the year for us. Too many variables, too many risks, one kid with a preexisting condition that we can’t afford to gamble with. Not to mention that school has begun and there’s no use to being at a beach if you have to spend 7 hours in the hotel room tethered to a laptop. V is in virtual classrooms all day.

O transferred colleges – a decision that, while mired in drama and ugliness the likes of which I’d not seen in years and certainly not from him, turned out to be a positive move in some practical ways. He’s saving money and he’s not living in a dorm. He has moved on and away from home and the friends he has here. The pandemic has damaged his friendships and his social life, and for that I am sad and angry. I know at his age that friendships and independence and self are everything and these critical parts of growth have been largely affected by the coronavirus. For all of our kids.

I hate that my kids have lost their “normal” lives. I hate that Todd and I have lost our normal lives. We haven’t traveled this year. We haven’t had our summer cookout. We haven’t had at least 2 game nights we’d normally have planned. We haven’t eaten in a restaurant. We haven’t seen a long-awaited movie in the theater. There have been no First Fridays this year. We haven’t met up with friends anywhere.

I’m so over this pandemic, there are days when I wonder if I’ve lost sense of its gravity. I’m so over the current administration and all the drama therein. There are days I’ve been so “bored” – we’ll call it bored today, rather than what it really is – the apathy I feel is so palpable that I can’t do anything at all. Some days I’ve lost interest in all the things I might have done to pass the time. Then there are the fantasy days where the sense of fuck-it-all takes over.

I have been blindsided recently. I cannot divulge any details at this time. A legal matter has landed in my lap and I’ve been unfairly placed in the position of bad guy – an act so devious and selfish that I’m embarrassed to be shocked by it. If you’ve been on the journey with me long enough, you will recall my always waiting for the “other shoe.” Well, this time the shoe is a steel-toed boot.

So what to do with all these feelings of loss, anger, anxiety, and resentment? Start by talking to the people who have the ability to help me change what I can. Use my talents to create something that ultimately empowers me. Go to work, where I can focus on my job and on our patient families and leave my bullshit troubles at the door. The latter is/has been the easiest to accomplish. It’s a trick I learned several years ago during another soul-sucking experience.

I can’t with current news. I just can’t. My mind is at odds with the need to stay informed and the need to stay sane… and positive. Hard to stay positive when the man leading this country is doing it all wrong and he doesn’t care about half the population (if you roughly divide the country by party) and every day, just when you want to say what else can happen? He does or says something more shocking and ignorant than the last. And there seems to be no end to it. And we are facing a moral and democratic dilemma in November – regardless of the outcome. I am fearful of what will happen, and that level of anxious unrest inside me is making me sick. On top of everything else. So – self-preservation at once prevails – I have stopped reading and following daily news.

And then the little things start to pile onto the shit show, like Shuggie digging holes, muddy dog paws, the leaky kitchen faucet (yeah, still isn’t fixed, sue me), having to empty/defrost the fridge again, slow internet, not finding sanitizing wipes/household cleaners anywhere, unreturned emails/phone messages, needing a new blender, the trash needs to go out – again, …

Meanwhile, I’m still petering through household projects and planning renovations with Todd who, when he isn’t lost in his 12-hour workdays, is losing himself in his woodshop building furniture. Some days I get it done, others – as aforementioned – I get nothing done. I am, as I used to say to Todd in the early days of our renewed relationship, working on it.

Remembering faith and knowing that it will deliver. It always has, even in the most decimating times.

One day it will all be over. All of it. The pandemic, the Trump administration, the personal battles that I shouldn’t have in the first place. None of it can destroy me. I’m holding fast to that.

We all walk in the dark. And it is up to each of us to turn on our own light. ~ Katherine Hepburn

*I have added trigger warnings going forward when necessary, out of respect for some readers who may need one.

**Do not despair. I’ll be back to better posts tomorrow.

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