Dear Emma, Friday 13th Nov 2020

 

Dear Emma,

It has been months since I have written on a regular basis.  Many respond to sudden changes in their lives to comments like “Life happened” with all the busyness one may be exposed to.  But like the entire world, my only excuse is “Covid-19 happened” and it just took me a little longer to react.

Sure I was stressed and scared in the beginning but I was so busy putting out fires working on the crisis line three days a week, I would take four days to stay busy…distracted with still settling in my new condo since February…and yet every midday there was a press conference and I would freak out in my own little home.

I would rarely show my concerns with family or friends because they had enough to deal with.  At that time I was worried for my future and the unknown but like I said, I was also busy trying to reassure, comfort and listen to those calling our youth line that, that kept me focussed.  It reminded me a bit of a mom who is trying to tend to the family when they have an illness that is contagious.  Chicken Pox comes to mind as I had to stay quarantined for three weeks with my son and THEN on the third week, my daughter caught it…so six weeks quarantined.  Wow! I thought that was pretty tough then!  How naïve I was!!

In March and April and early May I was still counting the days since our lockdown and now, I have given up counting.  What used to be days, has turned to weeks and now turned to months.  Actually now the thought of counting any amount of time has a bad ring to it…yep, when you start hearing that things will get back to normal…or sort of normal in 3 to 4 years…I dread even thinking about that…my future is much shorter than my clients and my peers, working in an environment where the average age is 25.  So yeah, I’m probably the age of their grandparents.  I wonder how my last decades will be.  I had hoped to travel the first three to five years,  while I was healthy enough and still working to afford the expense…now I don’t know anymore.

In the beginning I mourned the future of youths and anyone 20 years younger than me; I felt so bad for them.  I was worried about my son and his wife and wondered if my son would be allowed to assist in the birth of his baby due in mid September.  I worried about his return to teaching elementary school and putting his family at risk.  I worried for my daughter and her three boys who were 12, 14 and 16, living in dullsville and wishing they could be with at least ONE friend other than each other.  I worried about the sanity of my daughter and her partner working from home with extremely stressful jobs that has increased since the pandemic. 

In May, George Floyd’s murder hit me more than Covid-19…one was a virus and difficult to contain, the other was an act of malice that could have been prevented.  And so I mourned for his family and friends, I mourned for past, present and future people who have died maliciously. It took George Floyd’s death to finally have the entire world acknowledge and listen to people protesting in the streets about systemic racism for black , racially marginalized and indigenous people  ALL over the world.  The finger was first pointed at America and finally we all looked humbly in our own back yards at the injustices that have been going on for decades if not centuries.  White privilege is finally being understood slowly…systemic racism is being acknowledged and recognized…notwithstanding our stubborn premier here in Quebec who will NOT use the word systemic racism pretending NOT to understand what it means…even if many have explained it perfectly in French for any bozo who pretends not to know.  If one does not acknowledge it, they can give that as their excuse to NOT begin to resolve the problem.

Mid-May, I finally bought an inexpensive home antenna and caught the news on several American, Canadian English and French channels…so now I could watch a summary rather than the whole press conferences that I was getting to dread.  I dreaded Zoom meetings and the echoey sound it had and would rarely attend to work meetings and rather chose to stay on the crisis lines. I am still not able to watch for long periods of time, shows that have Zoom…it just reminds me of a new world I dread. 

I worried I would never be able to hold the newborn baby when my grandchild would be born and then July came and I had my very first outing with the family…we were allowed to meet with our 2 bubbles…so my son, his pregnant wife, and my daughter’s family,  celebrating my grandson’s 16th birthday and finally saw everyone.  We had not been together since Christmas 2019. 

I was still scared walking outdoors and was not familiar with my surroundings.  There is a beautiful gigantic park 5 minutes from my condo with an artificial lake that runs a mile and a half long.  I was too scared to go but in August I decided to check it out. I hated walking alone all the time and not having a goal or destination, so I started talking to a friend in Toronto on my walks.  I tried to go for a walk during my lunch time as well to get away from watching the news on YouTube, not having cable, I was stuck with only streaming information. 

On August 20th, the Great Spirit answered all our prayers and my grand daughter was born three weeks early!  My son was permitted to stay with his wife the three days in hospital and I even spent three days the week after helping mama and baby Lara with this new transition.  I treasure those days I was blessed to hold Lara in my arms, soothe her and help her sleep.  The week after school started, I had to stay away from family….AGAIN.

And then the lows hit me. It felt like I was buried alive sometimes. I hardly went out for walks, would binge on mystery channels and Netflix and had a hard time to concentrate on reading…someone who used to read 3 to 4 books a week…my mind seemed to be slipping.

Work was getting heavier…calls were abundant and intense and although I was relieved youths and  young adults were reaching out, once off the phones, I was back in that dark hole. 

I tried anti-depressants for three months and nothing seemed to change and then it was increased and after two days of that awful feeling, I called my pharmacist to ask if I could quit cold turkey…it happened to be a medication that had little to no side effects if stopped suddenly.  That was the same day I heard from a dear friend who was caring for her son who had a terminal illness…I think that is what woke me up.  Life is still going on…cancer, heart attacks, strokes and other debilitating diseases are still around…in fact, it is even harder for them with all the restrictions and precautions due to this pandemic.  No, that was like a slap in the face for me…I wanted to try something else to get out of my dark hole.  It was time to start practicing what I preached to so many of my callers.

But two weeks ago I lost my voice. Well, you cannot answer calls on a crisis line with no voice and even if this week it is raspy, my vocal chords still need a lot of healing due to a couple of reasons. Reflux was the main culprit as that damages vocal chords a lot!  My  doctor gave me a three month treatment and warned me it would take time.  And so here I am,  trying to write again.  Today,   I was admiring some of the posts  my colleagues submitted on our internal Slack showing their hobbies.  That reminded me how much I had changed.

In March and April I was writing a little more, refurbishing furniture and getting into artsy things like water colouring, colouring and considering oil painting.  I was plugged into YouTube so many hours a day learning new DIY’s from makeover rooms to arts and crafts and then summer came, and I stopped.

I picked up knitting but within a few weeks my arthritis warned me painfully not to overdo it and so I picked up crocheting and with the help of YouTube learned new stitches or how to improve what little I did know.  I just finished crocheting a shawl for my daughter in law, almost finished knitting a throw and almost finished knitting a long, long scarf. In the summer I had purchased over $100 worth of yarn for a baby blanket but every time I start knitting something, it takes too long and hurts my achy body and I get discouraged and take it apart.  I knit a bit, then crochet a bit….that way I don’t overuse my body. 

Oh, and in August, I slipped down the stairs of my condo on wet steps the idiot janitor did not put a sign it was wet and there I flew right into a wall. The only thing that still hurts is my left wrist which does not help with crocheting or knitting.  But then again, those are things that may be soothing but they are passive…not helping with my dark moods.

Today, I logged onto WordPress and checked in my Reader to see who I was following and the first post that caught my attention was Linda’s.  Gee thanks, kiddo!

So here I am trying to get back into writing. Oh, I have written similar posts like this one before but after an hour or so I would just delete them.  This time around, I am hoping on this Friday the 13th, it will bring me good fortune and back to my old passion that has always been so therapeutic…writing.

© Cheryl-Lynn ’2020/11/13

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Nov. 14/2020 Ring

2 thoughts on “Dear Emma, Friday 13th Nov 2020”

  1. It feels like the muses are staying away to avoid catching Covid. I wrote for the first time in a while this morning. Take care of that throat and the reflux. When the doctor had my throat acid levels tested it was almost 10 times what is considered normal. Sending hugs to my friend.

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    1. Wow! Well, I am consulting only by phone…still too scared to go in any clinic and this specialist works only from home. I never realized how reflux could damage the throat…no wonder I have been having problems and I was thinking it was my asthma…never thought of having it checked out until I lost my voice completely. I still feel blessed…I have always worried about losing my sight or hearing. Now I am still waiting for my doctor to send me a letter for my employment because I have run out of vacation days.

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