Still Grieving

There’s no doubt about it. Ask anyone around me. I’m angry. I’ve been snapping at everyone, railing at technology that refuses to function properly, annoyed at the dog who insists on marking the house, feeling trapped by the frigid stormy weather, and out of control.

I understand that anger is a part of grief, so when my tears turned to rage, I wasn’t totally surprised, but still was astounded by the intensity of my emotions. Sure, I have a lot to grieve. I lost my mom in November, after watching her steady decline since March. Her death came after losing two dogs earlier in the pandemic, as well as my freedom, control over life, and any sense of normalcy. As when I was in the middle of treatment, that loss of the ability to plan, to anticipate, to be hopeful, to feel agency in my own life, is so hard. And it’s been going on for so long. My tolerance has worn thin.

When the pandemic started, I was determined to see it as an opportunity. Sure, there was fear of the unknown and uncertainty about the future. But I could use the time to do things I never found time for given our usual hectic schedule. 

I exercised daily, determined to finally drop my chemo steroids weight. I walked and ran and biked and played tennis. And in the evening, I knit a blanket, then another and another. I tackled a sweater for my husband, then one for myself, and another. I reminded myself how to crochet and launched into potholders and coasters for all. And as the year rounded the corner, I skied and skated and counted the days until I could be vaccinated. There was hope.

Fireball Emotions

But where did that hope go? Just as life was beginning to resume a semblance of normalcy, Mom gave up on us all and the virus returned with a vengeance, sending us back into hibernation. Another holiday season living in peril, another winter on edge, locked into a space too small when the weather turns nasty. As we enter the third year of pandemic mayhem, the news continues to be bleak and hope more elusive than ever.

When the kids were little, I used to read them a book, “Tell me something happy before I go to sleep,” a soothing story reminding a scared little bunny of the good things awaiting her in the morning. I keep trying to find the adult version, in the books I read or shows we watch on TV. But everything seems so depressing and unappealing. Gone is my resolve, my resilience, my buoyancy. I know it will return—my natural state is optimism. But this has been a long hard slog. I yearn for something normal.

I saw the sunrise this morning. The ball of fire as red as my rage, but annealed by the subzero chill, barely any heat to be felt. Maybe my temper has lost some of its heat as well. The sky is bright. I think I’ll go for a walk.

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