In a new episode of New Amsterdam, they briefly showed the characters (they all work in a hospital in New York) in the midst of COVID-19–the bruised faces, the tears, and the death. The episode begins in a “post-COVID” world, but they do not ignore the effects of it. One character is still on a ventilator and the hospital has a severe shortage of supplies. One character, an ER doctor, comes to a realization that she misses the worst of it. She misses the pressure, the exhaustion, and feeling like she was saving lives. This is hard for her to admit to her colleague, but he tells her that it is ok to miss it.
That scene really resonated with me and I had to sit with it for a while. And, finally, I had to admit that sometimes I miss the pain of the early days of grief. I feel ashamed saying it (or writing it). Something about being in the middle of the worst of it makes me feel closer to Boris. He was closer–moments, days, or weeks away instead of years. In those early days, I feel like my energy had somewhere specific to go. I felt like I was still taking care of him like I always had. I was planning a memorial service, cleaning out his closet and donating belongings, sending death certificates to places, going to therapy twice a week, etc. I had people around me all the time. Everything had changed, but the past was still touchable.
When that character said she missed the chaos and raw emotion of the pandemic, I immediately felt a punch in my stomach. I sometimes miss pushing through each day and when everything is a blur. I miss the vulnerability and the fragileness. I know it probably sounds crazy to some people and perhaps it is. It was the worst pain I have ever felt. My body ached every day like I had the flu. But, somehow I miss it.