Of Pandemic Anniversaries: Part One

While I expected the “anniversary” of the pandemic would be sobering, I did not anticipate the emotional wall I would collide with this month.

For the most part, we have had a relatively fortunate time during this horror. Our income didn’t change, we could work from home, we had lots of streaming services, access to our therapists, a backyard to have some social distance visiting, etc. We made Starbucks drive-thru our “treat” destination. We were part of the solution via the MasQue ProjecT and MasQueerade.  We’ve both had our first vaccine.

Still … these past few weeks have been rough. As if the one year date has loosened the trauma from our bones and muscles and cells, loosened it to wreck havoc on our minds and bodies as it seeks a way out into the world to be addressed.

I’ve cried more in the past month than in the past year. Deep, guttural wailing cries, not just some tears in my eyes. I’ve been forgetful. Last night, on the weekly GLAAD Twitter chat, they asked us to identify one bit of good news we received the past week. And I froze. I realized that even though I was looking at the date on my computer, I had lost track of time.

Was it this week we learned our little foster cat doesn’t have a serious liver problem? Was it last week Ledcat’s mom got her vaccination? When was the last time someone called or texted me with good news? I had participated in good things, but that’s a different thing that the sensory experience of receiving good news.

This morning, I scrolled back through recent text and Messenger threads looking for good news shared with me. I found very little. Mostly news about vaccine appointments, struggles, death, loss, anxiety, and so on and so on. And while I’m not a “let’s pretend things are normal” kind of person, I do see the importance of a cellular connection with the goodness in the world.

Not being blessed.

Not thanks to God.

Not acknowledging privilege.

Not cute cat pics.

The goodness that comes from connection and sharing our good news. There’s intimacy in that exchange that creates magic – the sharing, the receiving, the joint joy and appreciation, the absence of caveats or rationalizations. The act of being rather than merely existing.

Good things happened to me this past week. I did good things myself. But I’m still at a loss about receiving good news. Here’s what I got:

  • my insurance company (Highmark) informed us that our teletherapy co-pays will be waived through June 30, 2021.
  • a friend got cute new glasses and a new hair do
  • my mother-in-law got her email issue resolved thanks to her computer guy
  • several friends are fully vaccinated

This stasis of existing has been exhausting and kudo to all of us for being here today to read this post (or not.) It doesn’t matter if you repainted your entire house or have layers of Mountain Dew bottles representing your coping skills. The good news is that you are here today.

I hope fervently that someone shared good news with me today. And tomorrow. I hope the ‘new normal’ reconnects us with the people we cherish and even those we just tolerate so that we can experience good news being delivered to us, not just happening FOR us.

For us, March 17 is our pandemic anniversary. That is the date the City sent the workforce home. Laura worked a full day to get ready to deploy her workspace in our kitchen. We ordered takeout. And we started planning. And here we are, a year later.

That’s my good news to share – I am a flawed, vulnerable person who didn’t reorganize her attic this past year, but I AM!

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