Less than two weeks ago, my brother passed away. One day he was in remission from cancer, the next he was being admitted to what we believed would be a fairly banal hospital stay. Ten days later he was gone. Pouf! Just like that.
On February 11, 2021, the New York Times published an article titled "In Our Pandemic Isolation, Every Death is a Covid Death", lamenting the unique nature of illness and grief at a time of acute isolation.
I wasn't able to attend my brother's funeral or travel to France to comfort my parents. International travel is complicated by paperwork, a reduced number of flights, curfews and the risk of contracting COVID. Not a good time for unplanned trips.
To make matters worse, Texas last week was a catastrophic mess, with electricity, heat, water and food in short supply. This wasn't our first weather emergency; we were prepared and fared well compared to so many, but the week stretched into a Neverland of boredom, chores and anxiety.
It's been close to one year of confinement. I don't bother with Zoom meetings anymore, or television. My thumbs are callused from embroidering. I have baked 82 loaves of sourdough bread, cooked hundreds of meals, cleaned, read, mended, learned to shoot and edit videos, got bored with social media, sewed myself a new wardrobe, enjoyed tiny visits with close friends and family and pondered life after COVID.
I know better than set a deadline for a return to normal or even think that normal will look the same as it did before all this. For now, I am focusing on putting one foot in front of the other. I keep a list of things to do, cross-off the tasks I manage to accomplish. I pat myself on the back for remembering to purchase coffee filters. I make a point of completing as many embroidery pieces as I can. I call my parents at the same hour every morning. I hug my husband.
The routine is comforting to me, the tiny steps helpful. The world is too foggy for me to map a clear path. It's enough to keep going in a general direction.
I hope you are finding your own way in this world. Let me know how you are coping with our year of COVID.
PS: I embroidered the illustration for this blog while on the phone with my mom. This is a wise little crone who showed up in the midst of our conversation. She is looking quiet, her hands clasped, because sometimes there is nothing better to do than just be.