This is how I’m doing that.
Most of the time that’s what I do best.
In fact, for many years my mother had two prints in her kitchen. One was a blonde, peeling an apple. That would be my sister who it seems loved to work. The other was a brunette, pencil in her ponytail, staring into space.
That one would be me. I was always thinking.
During this pandemic, I finally have enough time for that.
My three times a week, two-hour visits with my 97-year-old mother have been reduced to a twice a week 15-minute Facetime conversation that she has to repeat – “What did she say?” again, and again.
The dreaded visits to the grocery store where I always bought what I didn’t need and left other needed items on the shelf now involves grocery shopping online and looking back at my list many times before I hit send. Sometimes even then I forget something.
Early morning coffee, checking email, showering and out the door to meet a friend or fulfill some task that I have usually volunteered for is a thing of the past. I still rise early, but leisurely enjoy Facebook, an online version of our local newspaper and a zoom chat with at least one of those friends later in the day.
And I have more time to do what I like.
More time for thinking.
Of course, the thinking leads to words that I just have to put on the screen of my laptop.
I don’t just get to think.
I get to write.
For example, I might post a note about my mother on Facebook. She loved that form of Social Media and I am sure if she could communicate it to me; she would say she wishes she had her laptop in the Skilled Nursing Center where she is so wonderfully cared for.
Sometimes my children and I text. One of them will share a story about their children or what they are doing to pass the time. That starts a chain of laughter for us all.
I journal. I try to be honest. Although I am a little concerned that someday someone will read my words of disappointment, concern and occasionally anger. I’m not so concerned, however, that I don’t write it out. It matters to me that sometimes I am depressed or worried or even angry.
Am I depressed now? And am I tired of staying put? Am I worried that someone I love is going to contract the virus? And am I angry that my 55th high school reunion had to be cancelled?
We didn’t ask for this pandemic to engulf our state, our country, our world. It’s no one’s fault.
That should help with my anger.
Some people will get sick and yes, there will be fatalities. However, most people are following the guidelines.
In the very early days of this, one of my children said, “Mom, I don’t mean to hurt your feelings, but you are in the vulnerable demographic.” I listened. I’m following the guidelines.
Well, sometimes a little.
I mean after all; this is not normal. And when it’s over, it won’t be exactly like it was before.
Getting Through the Grief Process
I have come to understand that all of this is a part of the grief process.
Recently I read a quote about how this pandemic is causing us much grief. I cannot quote it exactly because I am unable to identify nor attribute the source, but the basic drift of it says that grief is not something that we can automatically put an end to. It’s a part of who we are. It is something that redefines us.
Every situation has three aspects. A beginning, a middle and an end.
Hopefully, we are on the almost there side of the end. As a friend who also loves college football said to me, “I hope we are in the fourth quarter.”
I know we are all just going through the getting throughs. There will be an end.
But in truth we will never be the same.
Now we actually know our neighbor’s name. Teaching/parents now know the value of a teacher. The richness of a blue sky is hard to miss. Less cars, less pollution. Hopefully, we know what it’s like to be loved and appreciated and we are also showing that to others.
And I am still thinking, still writing, still waiting for the fourth quarter to begin.
And still knowing.
Paula Suhey writes from Florida.
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