Mike and Sarah share Sunday posts, as they are two widows who are in a new relationship together.
Today’s post is from Sarah:
What a past few weeks it has been for all of us. I’ll admit, though I usually don’t let my emotions get the better of me… lately I’m struggling with fears around all this Corona stuff. Triggers about loss and around the unknown.
I know I’m not alone. Everyone feels uneasy about it… especially people who have lost someone close to them or have immune deficiencies. For the past week especially… there has been a tape playing on repeat in the back of my mind constantly. The tape of “Who am I going to lose to this virus?” As the numbers grow, I feel more and more likely that it will be inevitable… and so my brain has now begun this loop of wondering who it will be… like a virus playing Russian Roulette with my life.
I think it came to a point Friday where I just hit a fear wall… and a bit of overwhelm. Making the pilgrimage into Walmart at 6:30am for groceries donning gloves and a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol in my car did not help stress levels. After coming home and disinfecting 2-3 weeks of food, I was already exhausted by 8am. Then there was more news and more updates and higher numbers and greater realities setting in. Realities like the fact that Mike and I will likely be postponing our June wedding now… possibly until the fall, and possibly even until next year. Which leads to triggers I do not want right now: “What if Mike gets sick and dies and – YET AGAIN – I lose my partner before the wedding?”
By the end of Friday night, I could feel all these thoughts crowding in on me… which has happened quite a lot this past week. To the point that I’ve started to dread bedtime a little bit.
I decided Saturday morning to stay completely news free and just give myself a day’s rest from all of the input. I realized that one of the things weighing on me is that, since all of this isolating started, not a single day has been “normal”. Not a single day has felt like just living. Each day has been interrupted by 2pm updates from the governor and 6pm updates on the news and countless conversations that revolve around only this stuff. I realized, it has been weeks since we just lived a full day without it all.
Also, yesterday happened to be Drew’s birthday… so it was already an emotionally hard day for me without anything extra. I held back tears a large part of the day, and broke down a few times. Despite having someone new and wonderful to love on, it never makes me miss Drew less, on his birthday especially. It’s just hard. It is beautiful nonetheless to have Mike there to hold me and let me cry on days like this, and know that there is always room for me to miss one man and simultaneously love another.
This post may be pretty rambling, it has been hard to put thoughts together lately – which explains why we’ve missed posting the past two weeks. But I think there is a point coming out of this…
So for the entire day yesterday, Drew’s birthday, we did not watch the news. It was raining and stormy out for most of the day, and instead of staying inside because of the weather… we took advantage. Since all this social distancing started, the local hiking trails have all been packed with people who have nothing else to do. We knew though, on a rainy day that many of those folks would stay inside. It was our chance. So we spent the better part of the afternoon driving around to different hiking areas and doing some short walks. With all the rain, the rivers and creeks were rushing and thrashing around and so fascinating to watch. As expected, almost no one was out but us… and it felt like our own private playground in nature – the way we like it. So it seems, for the time being, we will be rain walkers, emerging only when most of the rest of the world does not want to and finding our joy there.
That night, after dinner, we also did a video call with some of our closest friends. Many of these friends also knew Drew, and were some of our closest friends back when he was alive. They have since welcomed Mike and Shelby into our little circle, and we’ve added new spouses and kids over the years to our group too. We all live far away from one another, so hanging out in person is already something we don’t get often. Still, we hadn’t all gotten on a video call in several years – and I thought there was no better time than Drew’s birthday to do so.
So we went from walking in the rain very much in isolation all day to spending the entire evening laughing with good friends. Laughing harder than probably any of us had since all of this Corona stuff started I’m betting. And gosh how the laughter made all the fear melt away.
I think this is where I’m going with this post right now… after that video call, and a day out in nature with my little family, as I write to you this morning, I feel a safety restored. I feel like we spent a day really living and embracing the present. I feel a sense of groundedness again – maybe because it just feels good to know that I can still live in the moment sometimes even during all of this uncertainty.
We’re all learning how to deal with this epidemic day by day. We’re trying to adapt, we’re learning how to cope with a thing we’ve not had to before. Sure, widowed people are pretty well versed at learning to cope already – but that doesn’t mean that new situations aren’t still hard, and scary, and stressful. Sure we’ve already been through an unimaginable change in our lives – but that doesn’t mean that new uncertainty isn’t scary – or possibly even scarier for us than for many other folks.
This weekend, I learned something new and important about how I need to cope with all these changes due to the Corona virus. I learned that, while it is important to stay up to date on all that’s happening… it’s very important also to have some days each week that are as close to normal life as possible. Days that are about being out in nature and exploring and laughing and living and maybe forgetting about all of this a little bit. I have to seek the ways I can still live life so that I can lean into living more and lean less into fear, and make sure to do that stuff often. I think these first few weeks of isolating maybe I have been doing a lot more “waiting around” and a lot less living.
So my goal for the next few weeks is to get back to normal living and doing as much as possible… to spend less time with the news and more time with things that we’ve always enjoyed that we can still do. Gardening, hiking, bird watching, puzzles, playing card games, video games, making things. And maybe adding some new things to fill up the spaces where isolation has removed some things from our lives. Friday pizza nights have quickly become a favorite new thing we look forward to.
So that is my game plan. I’m noticing what has not been good for me the past few weeks, and what has, and now I’m regrouping with that knowledge to try and make the next few weeks better. I’m going to TRY not to worry as much about months from now, or who is going to die, or how many, or what else will change, or postponing weddings. I’m going to try to live more, and try to focus more on what I can control in the next few weeks in my own little world to just have joy and security right here, right now.