As we enter this third year of pandemic madness (which I thought was going to be over in two weeks), I managed to work constantly while staying in my little bubble of neighbors, friends and family, keeping my kids safe, getting one a vaccine in Plattsburg, NY, convincing my husband it would not cause him a blood clot. It was an effort worthy enough for any family, still I stayed close to home, went to the usual spots and even planned a tiny vacation.
At the vacation we learned that one of us had had a positive exposure. From there we literally devolved into tiny mini head spins: when exposed, where exposed, how exposed and on and on. OK get a test - you say. Not so easy except I happened to have ordered a couple of tests online. So she tested negative. All was well after a day's worth of bickering. I realized now that things went so much deeper in terms of our collective losses. The empty zoom funerals, my clients' loss of work and connections. The kids trapped in their rooms. But this was different. No one was going to die; we hopefully took care of that. But we suddenly experienced the swirling anxiety of travel, uncertainty and turning on each other out of sheer draining frustration. It didn't help that it was raining.
I think this episode, which really only consisted of a lot of yelling about tests, taught me much more about the universal experiences of disenfranchised grief. It taught me that each and every action has an equal and opposite reaction. I learned that in spite of every precaution, my client who never went out and got covid in a cab was devastated, right before her wedding. The people who got cats and dogs were happily walking around my quiet suburban idyll while others were languishing in hospital beds, quarantine, solo apartments, etc. Movies without masked people seemed quaint. I have to dig deeper I thought. Now with my clients I'm not going to just roll my eyes about politics and safety and boosters and other pandemics of the past and working together. I'm going to ask them, "How did this really effect you?" "How is the ongoing strain on your life?" "What can you change to start to feel more in control?" "What do you miss about going out?" The experience is a package deal now: survival of the fittest, also the most flexible, and the most willing to accept the here and now.
Instead of "Peace be with you" or "Namaste" or "See ya" I will say truly "Be Well in body/mind and spirit."