Is everyone okay?

Actually, is anyone okay?

I’m not.

Living during this pandemic sucks. It’s so freaking hard. I’m not even grieving anyone’s death or struggling for money. I’m a newlywed with a big apartment and a cute dog, and my husband is incredibly supportive. But I feel so down.

I won’t be going home for the holidays. I miss my mom’s house and the Christmas decorations she’s had since my childhood, the presents stacked high under the tree. I miss seeing my Madison roommates every day. I miss my home church, my siblings and nieces and nephews and parents. Just like everyone else, I miss silly things like shopping and coffee shops and sit-down restaurants. I miss walking past someone on the sidewalk without stepping into the road to give them more space.

We are all going through similar struggles, many people’s far worse than mine. But nine months in, I’m no longer warmed by “we’re all in this together” sentiments. I’m just lonely and sad. Toronto is overwhelmingly big and unknowable during this time. Even my name is unfamiliar.

I’ve been unemployed since the beginning of November. After six weeks of unstructured days and minimal obligations, I no longer harbor illusions about what I might someday accomplish if I “just had more time.” How many of those open-ended days did I read the Bible? Watch Korean language tutorials? Pursue my so-called passion of painting? How long did I abide by that checklist I made myself? How’s that budgeting initiative going? Did I quit coffee like I’ve always said I would?

I’ve passed a lot of time on Twitter lately, a site with which I have a complicated relationship. Often I catch myself using Twitter as an escape or numbing agent. The political rage, absurd cultural takes, and vicious arguments lead even the most committed Twitter users to refer to it as “this hellsite.” But the jokes, prompts, and funny stories make it worth visiting. And I’ve been grateful for the site as a forum to talk honestly, and even humorously, about how difficult life is right now.

Most days I can manage some productivity—run a few errands, send out a couple resumes, take the dog to the park. Other days I don’t venture much past my phone screen. I’ll overhear my therapist husband talking to a remote client about healthy coping mechanisms while I eat raw cookie dough and scroll on Twitter to ward off dark, intrusive thoughts.

Last month I took a break from social media for eight days. I felt a little better extricating myself from the virtual world, and I practiced some of those coping mechanisms so Josh wouldn’t worry about me. But I missed Twitter. I’m still trying to figure out what a healthy balance looks like with a site that both soothes and increases my anxiety. And you catch heartwarming moments when you read Tweets, like the hunter-fisherman—not your typical Twitter user—who sent out what he thought might be a goodbye message and received overwhelming support.

Although Michael is battling the virus itself, how many of us have wondered if we can beat this time of COVID? He posted a follow-up today. It sounds like he’s doing all right.

I know the pandemic situation will get better, but God, it’s terrible right now.

I’m tempted to end on a note of positivity, list a few small joys that I find in the midst of difficulty. Usually I can be Psalm 13 sad, following my “How long, Lord”s with “I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.” But that would be insincere now. I’ve been feeling more like the author of Psalm 88, who doesn’t bother to sound the least bit cheery but instead closes with the bleak-as-hell “Darkness is my closest friend.”

This is a time of despair and lament, and I’m letting myself feel it openly. Today I will try not to drown it out. I am naming the losses, and I am letting the grief wash over me.

5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Perfectly expressed. Hugs to you.

    Reply
  2. Avatar

    ‘Mood’ seems like too trite and simple a comment but *laughs nervously*…Mood.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  3. Avatar

    I can’t imagine Christmas with none of the familiar images or family. We have our tree up and trimed with orniments that bring back many wonderful memories. You can still celebrate the birth of our Savior in a way that will make memories to share with your family in the future.

    Reply
  4. Kyric Koning

    How sharp your pen, cutting straight to the heart of the matter and the hearts of those who read this. It’s funny, thinking how much we’ll do “when we have time” and suddenly realize that’s not what we’d do at all. It’s not easy. But if you want it, you can have the piece of my heart that you sliced off. 😉

    Reply
  5. Avatar

    Almost every one of my family and friends feels as you do, except the few that are angry and marching with hateful signs. Thank you for choosing grief. Does it help to read Anne Frank?

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

post calvin direct

Get new posts from Laura Sheppard Song delivered straight to your inbox.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!