I am someone who is used to staying home. I work from home. I drive my son to school everyday, drive his BFF and his mom in with us as well. But then I come home and work the hours until it’s time to get him again. My husbands schedule is usually off the wall and we’ve learned to adapt to every day being something different and me being ready to go solo at a moments notice. In a lot of ways I am prepared for this.
But I feel things deeply and the last couple of days have been a struggle. I’ve found myself feeling more anxious than usual. Which I expected given I have anxiety and the current global situation has been causing a lot of anxiety in people who don’t regularly deal with this. But I didn’t expect to feel profound sadness.
We’ve been in isolation for 11 days, tomorrow is 12. My husband has had to leave twice for work as Search and Rescue is essential services. He goes to work, comes home, strips off all his gear, clothes in the laundry immediately, phone and keys sanitized, hands washed immediately, then shower right away. On days when he’s on standby he’s there at work the whole day unless called out, eats lunch at the Mess hall. He usually sits with the rest of the crew on standby that day. They generally fill a big square table with 10-12 of them, he said. Today he came home and told me how they had to line up for food with paper plates, no self serve stations, everything was handed to you over the counter onto your disposable dinner wear. And when he went to go sit down they were only allowed 4 people per table, one at each corner......it broke me. The last couple of days while out for walks, the very obvious social distancing has been unnerving. People walking to the other side of the road in avoidance. It’s the responsible thing to do and logically I know this is what we NEED to do. But I am heartbroken. The avoidance makes me feel sad....like I’m poison. Like any of us could be. I don’t live near family but the idea of if I were to see family or friends.....I wouldn’t be able to just hug them. I wouldn’t be able to be near them......
How drastically and quickly things changed too is unsettling. Three weeks ago we were running errands as we normally would. No one seemed particularly bothered. Two weeks ago we were stocking up (reasonably) just in case we really did need to stay indoors for a couple weeks and you could tell there was uncertainty in the air. I could feel it. We made comments like “We’re laughing now about how absurd this is and we’ll be eating our words two weeks from now when we’re fighting off zombies!”. We’re not fighting off zombies but it feels like the majority of the world outside just disappeared......The day we went grocery shopping is the day the NBA announced they were shutting down. A massive organization that stood to lose a ton of money from doing so....just shutting down.....Thursday night we went to a parent/teacher conference and by the time we got home, all conferences for Friday were cancelled. By Sunday they were saying if you can stay home, do. The minister of education came out and said schools were going to be shutting for at least three weeks. We opted not to send our son to school the week it was still open and have been homeschooling since. The airplanes that we’re so used to hearing.....there’s a couple a day now. Traffic on our main road is still going but noticeably less. The walking trails here are also usually pretty populated with runners and generally crazy Canadians that have lost all sensitivity to the cold.....we see one or two people now. Gas prices are lower than they were when I was in high school. The toilet paper is gone and people are trying to charge astronomical amounts of money for hand sanitizer....and now our city is in a state of emergency, like most other cities, provinces, states and countries.
I AM mostly staying positive. Social media and the friends I have there has been an amazing distraction and network of support. Between the meme’s and the check-in’s and the general love and kindness that we all so desperately need right now....it gives me hope and a decent foundation to stand on to start each day. We’re eating well, trying to get daily exercise in, trying to get enough sleep - much easier without having to set alarms....trying to wear real clothes now and then, keeping general hygiene as a priority.......trying to keep mentally ahead of this thing. But I think I’ve needed to acknowledge the sadness. I was trying to keep it at bay because I wasn’t ready to deal with it. I worried that feeling sad would be the start of a downward spiral. But I think it’s important that we DO give ourselves permission to acknowledge it and let it happen. We’ve never been through this before. It’s new and scary. And it’s a lot easier to come to terms with something when you feel supported and connected. Unfortunately, not only are we very obviously missing that physical connectivity of even being NEAR other people.....we’re currently not ALLOWED for that to happen and it feels really lonely. So allowing ourselves to feel the sadness helps open the doors to be able to process all of this. I think we’ll all be processing for a long time and as much as it sucks, it’s something we definitely need to do.
There are still so many things to really and truly be grateful for in this mess, especially in our particular circumstances. My husband and I talk about it every day. Every single day, we know we’re so very lucky in this global pandemic. We DO NOT take our situation for granted. But I think a lot of us are feeling it, the reality is setting in. We’re still seeing numbers rise, governments are still figuring out stimulus packages, people are worried about jobs and bills and the economy, we’re worried about our most susceptible members of society, we feel devastated by all of the loss so far....we’re surrounded by the stress of so many unknowns and we have to deal with that in our isolation from the world. But we are also with our families. We’re connected by social media and video calls and phone calls. We’re getting creative in how we stay connected and how we get involved in our communities. I’ve seen so many TRULY good and amazing things. I don’t think this earth has seen so many heaping doses of love at one time maybe ever. The things that were broken before.....they might have a chance for change on the other side of this. So many things will just never be the same. Some of that might be bad but some, I’m hopeful, will also be really really good.
So I leave this saying, it’s ok to feel what you’re feeling. Acknowledge the emotions and give them respect and space to happen. It’s how we’re all processing right now. The whole world is in a situation that we’ve never experienced before. It’s ok not to do any of this perfectly. It’s ok to feel things that aren’t pleasant. This situation straight up sucks in a lot of ways. We’re learning about this thing daily. We’re trying to coach our kids through it while we, ourselves, are constantly muttering “W....T......F.....” under our breath. We can suck at this, we can feel unpleasant things about this, and it’s ok. We will make it through this. And as lonely as we feel, we truly are all in this together.
Wash your hands, be responsible, love each other, be kind, and stay safe. Sending you all so much love ❤️