I’m so tired of everything today. Being home from work does that to me. I hate it with all my heart. I know there are some people who are loving it, but I am not. Lately even when I’m at work, the level of “busy” is different because of The Plague, and so there’s still down time, which I’ve never had in my career before.
Everyone keeps saying, “Enjoy the slow-down, it’s temporary.” I get it. I appreciate the thought. But I do not appreciate the slow down. When there is a slow down, I have waaayyyy too much time to think. My head is a very scary place. It’s like my mind is a house, and it looks almost normal. But it’s not normal. It’s one of those Scooby Doo booby trapped houses where the welcome mat opens into a dungeon or something when you ring the doorbell, and every scary thought is some other weird thought wearing a mask. Does that make sense?
I might be worried about my kids getting behind at school, but that’s just a mask to cover up that what I’m really worried about is that they are growing up in a world with a pandemic, without my mom, with me as a mother and no safety net. I don’t have my mom to call anymore to say, “Oh by the way, what would you do if you were raising me in a pandemic?” Or “Hey, you know those six thousand containers of Lysol wipes you stocked up on while Harris Teeter had super doubles? Do you have any of those I could borrow?” Or “Hey, will you pray for me? I feel like I’m suffocating.”
Because that’s the truth. All day, every day, I feel like I am suffocating. The weight of the world is sitting on my chest, and it’s getting heavier by the day, and my stupid albuterol inhaler doesn’t make it go away, and neither does praying or talking to someone or getting a hug because no matter what I do my mom is still gone. And you know what else? If I hug someone, I might give them a horrible life-threatening disease because that job I love so much places me at high risk to catch it and everyone I love at risk of getting it from me too. I haven’t seen my dad from closer than 6 feet away in like 2 weeks. I haven’t hugged my grandma in even longer. And every time I hug my kids I wonder if I’m doing them more harm than good.
When things used to be crappy for whatever reason, me and mom used to joke, “Oh well, life sucks and then you die.” It was always meant to be funny and make the other person realize how dramatic they were being. But what if it’s not a joke? It’s starting to feel like it might be true.
I know it’s really not. I know life is beautiful and God loves me and yada yada yada…whatever else people want to say. But just because you say things like that doesn’t mean it makes me feel better. Sometimes there’s no way around any of it. Sometimes you just have to feel your way through it and hope it really does get better. I would say it can’t get any worse, but as we are all finding out, it can get much worse than we ever thought possible.
I know I’m having a pity party. I know in a few days maybe I won’t feel so bad. But right now all I have is today, and if you are one of those people reading this who feels like I feel, I want you to know you are not alone. You are allowed to be honest. You are allowed to be angry and feel suffocated and wallow every now and then. It’s part of the process, and there are far too many people who “fake it” and not enough who are honest about what grief really looks like.
This is what it looks like. It looks like you haven’t had a pedicure since early February because the last one you got was with your mom and you can’t stand the thought of taking off your stupid polish color that you picked out with her. It looks like all you can stand to watch on TV is Gilmore Girls because that was her favorite show to watch with you when you were sick. It looks like you just bought ANOTHER copy of Pride and Prejudice because they had it at Sam’s Club when you went out to get groceries during the pandemic and it made you smile.
Some days you can laugh, and some days you can’t, and it’s normal. It’s ok to feel however you feel, and you don’t have to say, “I’m doing OK, God is good” every time someone asks you how you’re feeling. Life won’t suck forever, but for today it does.
Just do this for me. If your mom is still around, call her. Ask her questions. Tell her you love her. Borrow things from her house just because you can. Wear the stupid dress you hate because she thinks it makes you look thinner. Take pictures. Find out how she would raise you in a plague. Listen when she gives you the list of Bible verses that promise you everything will work out. Love every second of it. Because no matter how many times you get to, it’ll never feel like enough.