During the past eight weeks of lock-down I’ve been okay most of the time. I keep telling people who are concerned about me that it’s not that different for me. Maybe life has slowed down a bit and become a little less social, but either way loneliness is part of my new reality as a recent widow.
Who am I kidding? Subtle differences can be huge. I’ve had two major bouts of depression during the past eight weeks that lasted for a week or more each time. Both brought on major flare-ups of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. Recovery from the flare-ups is not quick or easy, as there is ongoing pain, inflammation and stomach problems. Who wants to be stuck at home feeling crappy, tired and in pain all the time?
The World Grieves
At least I can say I don’t have COVID-19. No, I have corona-virus fallout combined with normal grief. But corona-virus fallout is also a type of grief. We’ve lost people and a way of life. Even if you don’t know anyone personally who has died from this infection, you know it’s happened to others and it could happen to you or someone you love. Your previous lifestyle has changed whether you’ve lost someone or not. And since the future is so uncertain, there is anxiety and concern lurking around every thought.
Before the pandemic I was grieving the loss of my husband, my children’s father, my lifelong partner, our way of life, and our future plans. I was just beginning to pull myself together after the holidays. Not finished grieving, but more hopeful. I was beginning to make plans and set a course for moving forward. I had a little more focus and was able to be more productive. Then suddenly grief became global.
I’m a lucky one
That’s what I keep telling myself. I didn’t lose a job and don’t have young children to feed and care for. My parents and partner are already gone and my adult children are doing okay. (They’ve been impacted, but not as badly as others.) And I’m living in a country that has done a much better job of dealing with the pandemic than the US has.
But still, the blues hit me sometimes. Dealing with autoimmune issues is hard, especially the type that causes chronic pain. I’m grateful to be alive and I’d like to live vibrantly for the rest of my days, however long that might be. But sometimes trying to regain some degree of good health feels like an endless battle.
We now hear of plans to re-open business. We have guarded hope that things can begin to look sort of normal again. I went to a mall recently and saw a long line of socially distanced people waiting to get a haircut. I wanted to buy some clothes but wasn’t allowed to try anything on. We’re all experiencing difficulty so we don’t want to complain, but we silently wonder how long things will be this way.
Only eight weeks and I’m already getting tired of Zoom. Tired of the limited places I can go, the limited things I can do and the limited numbers of people I can hang out with. But still, I’m a lucky one. I don’t have COVID-19, my friends and family are okay, and I’m living in a relatively safe place where business is beginning to re-open. I even hugged a friend yesterday for the first time in two months. There is always hope.