the contemplation of a looming loss
i stopped thinking that 2020 was going to get any easier, any better, any more reliable, or any more hopeful around when ... may? 2 months into semi quarantine, no end in sight. wrapping up a semester from hell where mid stream we moved online and no one was ready or prepared and the workload was easily 10x what it was in face to face teaching. kid also stuck at home. not really distance learning, but instead distance time killing. screens used as babysitter, semi-teacher, waster of time, research device and holder of remembrance to a time when you could leave the house without a mask.
maybe it really gelled right around the time i wrote that first post on loss. i wanted to find a way to be stoic, to be as zen as possible. to be open to the idea that emotional labor and instability were going to be the swan songs of the year and that somehow i would be able to write my way out [yes that is a hamilton reference], or at least handle it all with a little bit of grace.
still, frankly i have been shocked at the depths to which 2020 has sunk. the barrage of upsetting and mind blowing circumstances that have stacked themselves upon one another to form a bizarre jenga like tower of a mess. where not only is nothing stable, the word unprecedented has lost its meaning through commonality, and brain fog has moved from being an occasional annoyance to a constant companion. the saving grace here is that every.single.person.i.know is suffering this fog too. so we all search for words and intelligence in never ending zoom meetings, emails and texts with a baseline of oh yeah we're all just not at our best, and who the F cares. the staggering amount of loss or calling a spade a space - death - unnecessary, aching, terrible death - let alone the loss of jobs, housing, school, etc. has moved beyond what we had hoped was a temporary trauma into something that i feel like many of us [those of us who chosen to not pretend like everything is find and pull the blinders on even tighter] don't even have the language to adequately describe. i can't help but think that even those of us [looking at your jessamyn ward] who can somehow write a way out, seem to then be confronted by a rug pulled out from us.
and so i am here. with my fog. trying to think about how to confront the looming loss of mildred. our family pit bull. in some ways she is the light of the house. always friendly. always looking at you with her amber eyes seemingly hung up on every word you have to say to her. the tail that thumps slowly as she realizes you are speaking to her. then faster and harder as she KNOWS you are speaking to her. lover of yogurt. picker upper of toys to greet you with. extreme licker - like stick her tongue up your nose if you let her excited lover of a girl. she has lymphoma. when she got scoped the dr. said it was surprising she was able to eat at all as lesions lined her esophagus, stomach and intestines.
and so we hospice. steroids, meds to coat, ani nausea meds on the ready... any and all foods on the table. i cook for her 3x a day like a good mother should. practically praying that she will want ham, hamburger, chicken, sausage, hotdogs, meatballs, bone broth, eggs, cheese, crackers, whatever in the loving world she will take and holding my breath that she keeps it down. knowing that we are just biding time. that every day we have to be thankful and that it is all "extra". and i speak to our 11 year old about how the loss of a best friend [her words] is indeed wholly unfair. and she is too young. and yes you had thought she would be there for you through high school and OH MY GOD 2020 is the worst possible year ever. and i curse that there is no possible reason that we deserve this loss on top of all the other loss. all the other stress, all the other other that has happened this year and surrounds us daily.
and so we brace - for the wave of grief. for the literal way our heart will ache. and we say what we always say. the love is worth the loss. and it is. but i'd be lying if i in a minute i'd bargain my way into some deal that would allow a longer stay from this grief if i could. if there was a magic wand, or a genie with a wish, or some kind of trade that i could make.
when there seems to be utterly no point, what is the point? what is the meaning? what is the reason? the undeserved of what feels like a punishingly amount of too much? i have no answer for that. but i do see the point of being vulnerable. to not letting the despair win completely and for taking a minute to say... I SEE YOU. i see you grief. i see you fear. i see you loss. and i see those of you that share in this. and for now that simply has to be enough.