With the cleansing breath of spring spilling into my bedroom after last night’s blustery downpour, I opened my eyes and felt such gratitude -- that I rose before the sun did, and stepped outside to greet It in person. The early birds were chatting it up on the flip side of their own storm’s reckoning, shaking it off. Drenched trees sprouted new, curly, jade branches. It’s Sunday. The work week starts tomorrow. I feel a new energy and devotion to both home and work life.
They say, “Spring is God’s way of saying, ‘One more time!’” but at this juncture it’s tangibly real. Those of us who are still here are shouting it from the rooftops: “We’re still here!”
The congestion that lingered in my chest since November had been dissipating and is now officially gone. Being on lock-down for a year was a psychological mind bend, but at the same time working from home was just one of the many miracles with which the Great Lord has blessed me.
I did not tell my family that I had the virus, as it was just before Thanksgiving, and it was a trembling time for the world, as several folks in many families had been hit with it. I was more worried about my mother and other elders than anything else.
The symptoms were obvious; I knew it was real, but I did not have the marked shortness of breath, so I planned to continue to hunker down, and wait it out.
COVID-19 is like birth and like death; you do it alone because you have to. I did reach out to one “friend” as I nervously waited in line to be tested. She didn’t know anyone in my family, and I just needed a voice in the moment. But, she was busy, so I realized I’d better get on with it, and be ready to have some serious conversations with myself once the test came back.
Though most days were okay, others were a bit like walking on marshmallows. I had the benefit of holiday time off, when I hibernated like a winter bear. I wrote in my journal, had my groceries/medicines delivered, and all-in-all everything went fine considering. I did my work, stayed on mute during bouts of coughing, and slept long and hard after signing off at 5:00 PM -- at least 12 hours a night, with Vicks Vapor full-steam ahead at my bedside.
As an encroaching circle of shadows made Earth seem smaller, horrid happenings at our Nation’s Capitol maimed the news, while COVID-19 death tolls continued to be illuminated every minute of the day in real-time -- via stadium-like tickers -- as the virus ate its way to more loved ones, swallowing smilingly, as it pleased.
The world seemed to be dimming -- sick and divided -- and I started to feel it in my marrow. The MS Teams virtual meetings and projects were a welcome distraction – and something to put all my effort into, even though some days I did so swaddled snugly in my favorite feathers.
A couple of months later, my youngest daughter became so ill with COVID-19 that she looked as though she had been socked in both eyes; they were hollow and black. A single parent (like I was), she had no choice but to have my granddaughters picked up while she battled the virus alone in her apartment. My granddaughters also came down with it, as did their father, but luckily, no one was hospitalized and the younger ones seemed to trek through it over a week’s time. They were back, playing dress-up and dance team, while my youngest struggled to keep up during her 5-week bout with the virus.
My son texted me about a month ago and gave me some very vivid descriptions of how he was feeling. I knew.
This was the worst part of COVID-19 for me, not being there for my kids when they were sick, like a Mom should be! (They are 1,600 miles away.)
It was at this point that I shared with them that I had in fact had it, and that I came out on the other side. But, our symptoms were all so different. My son didn’t have the black eyes; his just went colorless with a kind of unwilling retreat that was downright frightening. He did end up in the hospital, and his heart rate got down to 38 BPM. Now, these little sneaks didn’t tell me any of this until he was home safe! Where do they get that tactic, I wonder?
Today, those in my close-knit family (me, my three kids, and four grands) are all safe and well. Like yours I’m sure, our extended family and friends have not all been that fortunate. As we have seen and read, many have taken their last breaths being able to speak to their loved ones only through an attending, exhausted nurse, thick palm-printed plexiglass, or a cold hand-held device wet with farewell tears.
I lost a friend whose last words to me were, “When this is over, I’ll meet you in Savannah!”
Emails became common that a co-worker was out and that their condition was “unknown at this time.”
COVID-19 stories are multi-hued, with bands of blush and bimini, all the way to the blackest black. Still, with the spring of 2021 at our doorsteps, and the revving of our ready engines, we venture out into the unfurling trust that the Earth is now healing itself.
I have wondered... if we humans might be the virus, an enemy of our own, and that we’ve been sorely warned to be more appreciative, and kinder to ourselves and each other. So...over a month ago, I threw out all processed foods, alcohol, sweets, and I swear I eat an entire bunch of spinach every single day. I’ve lost 15 pounds and have new, clear green eyes looking back at me from the mirror.
Now, as I undergo my annual spring pantry and closet overhaul and package up boxes to haul away to Good Will -- with new zeal -- I am energetic to see faces, hug necks, and sport my summer Levis to the upcoming family reunion, out in the sticks of Chalk Mountain, TX., where the country fire pits will be burning -- and the banjos playing -- like never before.
Thank you, God.
Now: One. More. Time!
Let’s work hard but not too hard; remember what’s important -- and cherish mornings like this one.
Love and wellness,
“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.
- Alice Walker
The Color Purple