The word is on fire.
MY WORLD IS ON FIRE.
Every day I wake up and think, “what the Hell?” Then I wonder, “what day is it?” And I realize every day is #CoronaDay. Every day is #CoronaDay when your world is upside down. Every day is #CoronaDay when you can’t see your future. Every day is #CoronaDay when your calendar is absolutely blank.
2019 was a good year. I remained cancer-free, I did a bit of traveling, and enjoyed some new experiences. It was also challenging: I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome after months of pain, bloating, nausea, and social engagement cessation. But, I made it work.
2019 also provided me with the chance to settle my mom. Getting her placed was the biggest win of 2019. It removed the constant stress I felt regarding her safety, health, and personal care. I could finally make plans and not worry about what might and would happen to her. I planned to go to Italy and Amsterdam in 2020.
2020 would be my first year in decades to truly make decisions for myself. But my mom became ill again and my plans started deteriorating. I soon found myself watching my hopes and dreams slowly vanish in yet another emergency room visit.
But I worked it out by spending all of my free time cleaning out Mom’s house And mine. And working. And doing all of the other things adults have to do. Because I was going on my trip no matter what.
I fully admit to being one of those people who thought the Coronavirus was just the flu at the beginning of February. Based on the information I was seeing, it seemed to be hitting older Asian people with a history of smoking and living in cities with heavy air pollution. Well, I wasn’t in that category so I was still racing to go. But the information started changing in mid-February leaving me with questions. I checked in with a friend who was a nurse practitioner and she agreed it was a type of flu and I was good to go. I also checked with my pulmonologist’s office and they gave me the good to go but with my inhaler.
Did I mention I was ready to go?
At the end of February, it was clear that this thing seemed to be spreading to new countries and causing a wider swath of the population to become ill and die. It was NOT the flu. Hmmmm………… I still believed I was safe and waited impatiently for my online purchases to be delivered.
And then March arrived with more infections, more deaths, more mystery, more countries. But I was going to Europe. I bought extra hand sanitizer, more disinfecting wipes, more vitamins, more minerals, more supplements, and gifts for my European friends and family. Northern Italy was hit hard by the Coronavirus and my stateside friends and family began to gently question whether I should go. I reminded them I was going to Southern Italy, and I was still going. Then my Italian trip started falling apart when the tours I’d booked began to cancel. Alright, but I was still going to Amsterdam.
I was in Walmart on March 11, making my final purchases when Trump canceled all travel to and from Europe, except for Ireland and the UK. I stood in the aisle with my mouth open in shock because my Amsterdam flight was leaving at 1:00 p.m. the next day. I stared into space as shoppers passed by me, some asking if I was ok. I wasn’t.
I have to check so many boxes before I can do anything. I have the mom box, the sitters box, the pharmacy box, the physician box, the grocer box, the day job box, the contractor box, the physical therapist box, the bank box, the insurance box, automobile box, power of attorney box, and the death box which is where I keep all of my what-you-need-do-know-and-do-when-I-die-while-having-fun documents. Sometimes the checklist is unbearable and if I can’t check every single box, I can’t go.
It’s always all or nothing.
I didn’t have my meltdown while I was in Walmart. Nor did it happen the next day. But it came. It was the grief of another missed chance. More missed opportunities. More months away from my former roommate. Another year of missing my Europe-abiding friends and the rest of my family. More weeks and days being trapped.
It’s now May 1, 2020. And I am sending out an SOS, a Mayday if you will, to the Universe for guidance. To Mother Earth for healing. To Washington DC for a true leader. To Alabama for a wise leader. To citizens to stay at home. To the Federal government to provide more help to businesses and the unemployed. For the world to right itself again. Surely we have learned that we are ALL in this together BUT 6ft APART.
I am at home, unemployed, and curious about my future. I look at the winding road of my life and expected a different outcome this year. 2020 was set to FINALLY BE MY YEAR OF FREEDOM. And it, kinda, is. I am at home free to do what I want within the confines of Covid 19. I am free to sleep in or maintain my running schedule. I am free to buy and cook food. I am free to learn new things. I am free to see my local friends and family from a distance. I am free to eat comfort foods that will make me regret that choice but I am at home and can live in the bathroom. I am free to wave to my mom from the sidewalk of her facility. I am free to live, and be, and breathe.
I am reminded to be grateful for what I have and for what I can do. I often have daily chats with my loved ones. I go to the post office and mail letters and cards. I walk in the morning and enjoy the beautiful blooms. I get take out to support local restaurants and deliver it to Mom. I read more, watch less, and have received surprising texts trying to resurrect old relationships. I treasure this quiet time because it will soon end. The world will start rushing, time will begin galloping, and this “free” time I have will get booked.
Until then, I’m sending my Mayday on May Day.
How are you coping with Covid? Is your world also on fire or is it the same as it ever was?