A woke up this morning and for a few moments I forgot about the news. For those brief couple of seconds I tried to remember what day it was and if I was already late for the gym.
You know, those normal thoughts I used to have every morning.
But then I remembered.
I remembered our current reality. And every time it hits you, it turns your gut.
Sickness. Threat. Panic. Fear. This is coronavirus. This is our world right now.
So much is unknown. Things are moving and changing so quickly. Sometimes it feels overwhelming and scary, because no one knows how this thing will end. Or when it will end for that matter. We are now heading into quarantine week six. It’s hard to comprehend that we’ve been doing this for so long already.
My feelings are in a constant game of tug-of-war. One minute I’ve assured myself that all will be fine. I utter the cliché, “This too shall pass.” And I nod and feel OK. Then the next minute I’m panicked and on edge, frantically texting my parents and spiraling into a puddle of worry and guilt. When the uneasiness hits you, it almost doesn’t feel real.
Will we be alright? Is my family safe?
And with those questions comes a flood of others about unemployment, finances, safety and the very real fear of a second (or even third) wave.
I want to take everyone I love and lock them away in a house and board up all the windows. I want to protect them and keep them safe from a reality that sometimes feels like the plot of a movie.
It’s now spring, one of my favorite times of the year. I love feeling the cold melt into warmth. Everything starts to come alive again, including myself. I should be feeling better, the frost of seasonal depression starting to drip off. But I think about the next several months and wonder what on earth will happen. And suddenly the sting of the spring sunshine feels more like a blade. The confusion of this whole thing always feels freshly shocking.
It’s not supposed to be like this…
I miss so much about my own normalcy. Going to church, the gym, happy hour, work. Dinners with family, nights out with friends. The anticipation and excitement of planning an upcoming trip.
I miss not feeling an overarching nervousness hanging over everything.
And yet, I know how lucky I am. So many people are sacrificing. So many people have already experienced loss: Loss of life. Loss of income or a job. Loss of celebrating life events and dreams. Loss of normalcy.
I know working from home is a luxury right now. Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to do it and I understand that. But it gets lonely. I feel isolated. Once a week I feel the waves of anxiety and despair wash over me as it sinks in that I have to spend another full week cooped up in my house.
Yet I know doctors and nurses feel those same waves of anxiety every day. Grocery store and pharmacy workers feel scared, yet they still go into work to help our world run as it should. And then I think of my situation and the guilt hits me hard.
Right now it feels like we’re all holding our breath – and we don’t know for how long.
And I get angry too. I don’t want to put my life on hold. I don’t want to lose anyone to this cruel, invisible enemy. Anger fuels my questions – why is this happening? Are we supposed to do this forever? Why won’t this just end?!
My heartaches for seniors in high school and college. For brides and grooms who were looking forward to spring and summer weddings. For hopeful parents who had to put their dream of having a child on hold. For new parents welcoming a baby into this world in its current state. For cancer patients who still desperately need treatment and are scared.
And yet again I know how lucky I am. I hope and pray that there will be minimal loss of life, minimal financial impact and that my family will be unharmed. I have no choice but to trust in our government and to count on and support our front line healthcare and essential workers. I can follow directions and do what I’m supposed to do. I will focus on what I can control.
I will look for and focus on those who are helping others. And I hope I can be one of those helpers too.