March 24, 2020



The COVID-19 Chapter, “At Home”: DAY 10&11

This day feels different. This is the first day, to me, since I began writing that feels like we’re solidly in this. Maybe it’s because I didn’t write yesterday. Writing has been my way to think and talk about all this as though I’m looking at it from the outside. But I turned away for a second, and now that I’m back, I’m in it. I’m not dancing around it anymore, not observing it, not studying the threat of the lurking monster. I’m now embraced by it, as it has wrapped its ugly arms around me, and I can’t seem to find a way out.
It seems like much more than one day that I have taken from writing. I think it’s because the days are so damn long and dense. The news is crushing, and offers no hope of an end in sight – or even any hope that someone, somewhere – anyone, ANYWHERE, knows what to do.
The boys started their “distance learning” program from school today. Last week was “Spring Break”, and everything was loose and free-form for them. It really hit me today, as they did not return to school – and I believe they most likely will not return to school for a very long time, that this is for real. Full home immersion. THEY ARE NOT EVEN GOING TO SCHOOL. And while the White House says ridiculous things about being up and running in a matter of weeks, we know, in our communal gut, that this is wrong. This is a lie.
So here we are, with no answers, and no way to get them. Just like when my dad died, and I would have momentary cuckoo thoughts about emailing him to ask him something – so too do I sometimes think about doing a quick and easy internet search about how all this is going to end. And I don’t mean to read about what any number of experts or government leaders are proposing or surmising, but to get a definitive ANSWER. You know – look it up like a fact. Like it’s over and done with, and we can look back at it, and summarize the ending. Well, the likelihood of that happening, tragically, is about as likely as dad emailing me back. Not. Possible.
It all seems just out of reach.
All of it. I wake up confused. This last week, I’ve been staying very busy, tying up ends of ongoing transactions – clinging to them, actually, as I fear these tasks and checklists may be the last crumbs of work to chew on for quite some time. So I’ve been making them REALLY IMPORTANT in my mind. They represent *having* work. And I don’t want that to disappear. But as I cycle through all the things to accomplish, I spin, and spin, and I feel like I’m missing something. I’m racking my brain to figure out what to do next – what to cross off my list, what to finish. But it’s all just out of reach.
It’s as if I can’t put my finger on what needs to be done, and I’m left with this horrible nagging feeling. So I run through each deal I have going on, making sure I’m not forgetting a deadline, a signature, a document, a phone call. And then when I think I’ve got a handle on that, I focus on the the house. Nothing is in its place. Dust bunnies swirl around, completely disgusting me. The attic is filled with toys I should have gotten rid of years ago. The weight of it is so heavy, I feel like the ceiling is going to cave in on me in the middle of the night. All that stuff.
And even though it would seem like I have more time now to be able to take care of it – I can’t get to it. It’s all just out of reach. I can never clean enough, organize enough, make enough lists, to get that calm feeling inside – the one I used to get so easily, that everything is going to be ok. Every day has become a quest for how to get back to that feeling. But I spin, and spin, and feel all the more distant from it, daily. And believe me, my house is no cleaner than when I started obsessing about its state of disarray. Maybe if I keep at it…
I try to do the things. I meditate, I’m taking walks (probably not enough), I find friends to talk with (everyone is completely bewildered and trying not to panic), and I try very hard to spend quality time with the boys, without letting on that anything about what’s happening is in the least bit odd. WHAT???????? And now would probably be a decent time to admit that the not drinking we decided was a good idea before all this happened seems like a colossally stupid idea now. However, I remain strong. Tonight was my biggest challenge yet.
So I don’t know. It’s good to write. And more than 1 person actually asked about my lapsed day of writing. Cool. Nice to know we’re in a dialogue.
It’s my inclination to end on a happy note – or say something snarky to let you know that I’m ok, deep down. That I believe everything will be ok, in the end. Tonight, even that feels just out of reach. Stay safe, stay healthy.
Love, Julia

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