It was a dark couple of days.
I sat down to write last week because I didn’t know what else to do. I was irritable and scared, walking aimlessly in circles around the house because I was unable to settle into anything. I hoped that putting it into words would help me see my way through things, as it so often has before. It didn’t. Instead it led me down into a deep, dark hole, and I went to bed in tears.
Somehow, even with all of the reading I did, even living with Mr. Preparedness Nurse, I didn’t get the message. That it’s not a matter of if, but rather of when – even for us. That even living where we do, even being so isolated, we weren’t staying home to avoid it altogether – just to delay the inevitable. And when that message came through, I lost it. It was a bad, bad day. I did a lot of pacing and weeping and barely breathing. And some yelling. He didn’t understand how I hadn’t understood.
J had begun to treat COVID positive patients at work. He moved up onto our third floor to sleep in the guest bed, and began taking his meals on the other side of the house. We don’t know if he has it, but we also don’t know that he doesn’t. My children were in tears, multiple times a day. Because we couldn’t have him touching everything, I was managing all of the food prep and cleanup, the laundry and the schooling, the housework and my own paid job. And I was suddenly disinfecting every space J had recently occupied – with no end in sight. It was too much. It is too much.
I have no optimistic words, and that’s frustrating for me. I’m unable to spin this, to wrap it up in pretty paper and wax poetic about how we will all appreciate things so much more when this is over. There is no light at the end of the tunnel because it’s clogged. I can’t see the other side.
I will just hope that it’s there.
It’s been ten days since I’ve kissed my husband, my other half who is living in the same house. We got hammered with a freak snowstorm on Thursday, and just got our power back last night. The hits keep coming and there is still no end in sight. And yet it doesn’t seem to be quite as much as before, and I’m beginning to feel as if perhaps there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s faint, but it’s there.
Our piano teacher is the pastor of the local United Methodist Church. She’s also our first selectperson, and the wife of our fire chief. She’s been making fabric masks in her dining room for what seemed like everyone in town. I brought her the meager offering of a half dozen fresh eggs and the last of the elastic from my own stash when she lovingly made a mask for each of us. A few days later, she had made two more for J so that he could more safely move through the house and say hello to his children. Such a kindness.
The library had planned to offer a social distancing-type porch pickup of requested materials, and then our Governor issued a full-on stay-at-home order, closing all non-essential locations in the process. Knowing that we rely on library access for learning, our wonderful librarians pulled the handful of items I had requested, plus dozens more, and left them outside for me to bring home before being fully locked down. They hand-selected all kinds of beautiful books they thought my girls would enjoy, and entrusted them to us for who knows how long. More kindness.
My dear, dear friend sent me a text yesterday, asking if we could use hand-me-downs for the girls, and said she’d happily do a porch drop. The generator was grinding away just outside the window, but I kept watching the driveway, hoping to catch her so I could wave, or say a quick hello from six feet away. She messaged again that everything was on the front step; I had missed her. Bummed, I stepped outside and found the sweetest delivery: not just clothes, but mini daffodils and maple syrup and a wilderness bouquet, packed with handwritten notes from she and the kids. I cried yet again. Overwhelming kindness.
There’s no known timeline through this mess. The tunnel is long, and I still fear we have yet to stumble over many unknown hurdles before we reach the end. I’ll probably cry again, at least once, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that.
But now the light is shining faintly for me because of the kindness of others. I still can’t see the other side, but it’s bright now enough to keep me going. And because of those many kindnesses, I might now have the capacity to help, and try to bring that faint light to someone else.