Here it is, 2020. We are still in our house. You’d recognize it with only a few changes. But in the past few weeks, the world has changed rapidly.
Are you ready? Please sit down. They cancelled March Madness.
<Pausing to let that sink in.>
They also cancelled / postponed the Olympics. The Olympics. This is the first time that has ever happened. (Which of course you would already know.)
I have imagined you with this ultimate set up in heaven where you are finally not limited by any number of screens… you can have ALL THE SCREENS, see ALL THE SPORTS at once! Except now – all the screens go black.
Now, are you ready for this? The girls – our first and third graders – are not going back to school this year. Their last day of school was to be June 12. Your memorial sporting event was to be the day after the last day of school, June 13th. I have no idea if that will happen. But I do know now that the last day our girls were in school for the year was MARCH 12th instead! And when they left that day, a Thursday, they had no idea they wouldn’t be back the next day. Also, understand that was less than 2 weeks ago! That’s how much and how rapidly the world has changed in the last 2 weeks. It’s a world you would not recognize.
People are dying. This virus is spreading rapidly in every corner of the world. Our healthcare systems are not equipped for this. Do you remember when we lamented in November 2016? May he never have anything big and important to lead us through as a Nation? Well. Yeah. Here we are. And it’s exactly as bad as you would imagine.
Many times throughout this pandemic… because that’s what we are dealing with here – a Global Pandemic. For real. That is not melodrama. That is actually what it is. A Global Pandemic, called Coronavirus, or COVID-19. Many times throughout this pandemic, my anxiety builds in my chest. All of the possibly possible “what ifs” go through my head in an intricate mental gymnastics. Honestly, the “schools closed for the rest of the year” news today caused me to need a good heaving cry in the shower. The anxiety builds because it is so much, for all of us. It is a lot. Because people are dying. Because people are getting sick – and if they get better, their lungs may be forever weakened. I learned a lot about lungs when you were in the hospital. Because people are not following the rules. Because some of the rules keep changing. Because the economic effects are devastating, life-changing, unimaginable, unprecedented. Because I need to not get sick. Because I still need to provide for these three. Pay the mortgage. Survive. Parent alone. Because at the end of the day, when I turn out the light, your side of the bed is still empty. Because you are still gone. I can imagine what things would be like if you were here. (For sure, I know our lawn would look amazing right now.) But that is not helpful. Because you are not. You will now always be gone.
So I allow myself the good cry. The heaving sobs in the shower. And then I ask myself “what would Tim do?”
And then the calm. The calm that helps me take it one day at a time. Because everything is changing so fast – worrying about June will not help me today. It will not help me get ready for tomorrow. You would tell me to worry about nothing else – simply make sure the kids are OK, that they are safe. Do whatever I need to to keep them healthy, safe, loved.
I promise you that I will do “the next right thing” – whatever that is. I will keep our babies safe. I will try to make the best decisions for them. And I will try to stay sane in the process. Whatever that looks like.
Every day there is new bad news. Every day it feels like we are living our worst nightmare. The mantra in my head that plays over and over goes like this,
This is not my worst nightmare. I’ve already lived through that.
Because I have. That’s the only thing I can say about the loss of you. I’d still take it back if that were a thing in my power… but since it is not… I appreciate the resilience it’s brought in me, and especially in the kids. We are a resilient people. The craziest part may be that when we lived through our worst nightmare, we looked around, and the world just kept spinning. But now… This is a nightmare for everyone! We are not alone. I am touched by all the people who have reached out, though truthfully there is very little any of them can do for me right now. I am grateful for what we have. I am grateful for who we are – who we are because we had you, and who we are because we lost you.
This is where we are right now, Tim. I wish you were here. Every day, I miss you. You would have gotten frustrated, probably even more than me – but you would have taken on home-schooling with great enthusiasm. In a few weeks, we will be celebrating what would have been your 40th birthday. In isolation. A day which by any measure you ought to have been here for.
But then, you never saw a world without March Madness and the Olympics. And maybe a small part of me is grateful for that too.