Pandemic-induced recluse ventures into the wooded path for a break from the sameness of home.
Ah… the good stuff – rocks and moss. 🙂
Coming out of the storm was nearly as harsh as when it began, and it was an intense storm that gave so little warning.
An ER procedure and then just over 24 hours later, the near death unresponsive low oxygen state, and calling in estranged family – only for the reaction to be tornadic, and not the type you get warning of. Instant and violent – he vented his hate, his fury, his rage on my husband.
Left broken, ice packs, EMS assess and urgings for treatment, my man – the man of the house – sat quietly with his pain.
The storm raged on in the minds and emotions, and then – he’s awake! Low oxygen and 24 hours taking toll, this person is a shell of dad, not the same and great loss of functions suddenly. Distrustful and displeased and confused. The need for aid assist, the need for the estranged to access the life before it is gone, the need for safety for the whole family is now swirling for purchase.
Nursing home – I had told him he could die here. I never ever intended for him to go to a home. Necessity ruled. So the move was set in motion. And the danger assessed, and mental pictures examined and felt.
We left our home and my dad in care of other family. We were too tramatized to remain while the gears of paper spun. Runaways, feeling like strangers exiled. Silence was demanded so that family on hubby’s side was not alerted – no need to retaliate. And this is where I finally hit my knees and cried out to YHVH, this is when I recognized that I owed confession. I hoped for safety.
When access was finally made by the estranged – in the nursing home – we returned to reclaim our safe space.
Immediate needs were to remove dad’s presence, his belongings, his care needs, his treasures from our home. Remove triggers.
Then set in place the handoff – all property now ensconced in one metal clad box, and his instructions stilll loud and clear ‘those things are mine until I am dead’ – we made terms clear on expidited ownership change for the metal box.
Then try to live – the eye of the storm is not calm, it’s subdued. You know the pressure, the lingering eery feel of what’s likely is felt by all. Daily. But not for long.
Then the final. And the estranged and his sister held dad as he died.
Then waiting. Will this trigger? How about that? Which event is likely? Then he is missing… not checked in at home… then he is reported found by an old friend, and close by. Then waiting. And planning a funeral by phone, trying to stay out of sight, and signing and paying and … then remaining home while my dad was recognized and lowered into the ground, video taped for later viewing because view I must – I will need the closure.
Family dysfunction is everywhere. We’re all touched by it in some manner. Sometimes it takes everything you have, your money, your family, your heart, your life… and sometimes it comes out in the open and someone sees through the storm and into the brokenness, sees that a change is required. Change is the only choice you get or it continues.
So we took down the noise makers stationed around the property hastily. We removed the rakes from their bed on the ground, put back the blocks and bricks and pails stationed as trip hazards. We decided to take back sanity, to let go of fear – to tell terror that its time was had.
And we enjoyed a restful shabbat.
We’ll move forward, without relationships past – with better or new or fewer. Those are determined by the participants.
Be the change.
Once several personal items stack themselves upon each other, one little inconsequential thing will create in me a monumental setback.
Lightbulbs. This time it was lightbulbs.
Still not back in the swing of brick and mortar shopping, I place orders online and go to pick them up. Sometimes items are deemed unavailable for pickup and move to the shipping status.
Thus the lightbulbs arrived via delivery to the house. Plainly marked on the box – pictures of lightbulbs across the front and back – it was obvious what was being delivered.
My dad reported that he had arrived at the door to meet the delivery person, as he has the prime perch to see what happens out the front of our home. Just as he opened the door he witnessed that the driver stood 10′ from the porch and launched the box, delivering it by air mail to the porch.
What the absolute fuck?!?!
My genuine optimism, my faith in the combined struggles and overall goodness of people was blasted by this one asshole who made an intentional act of destruction at my front door.
Now, every inconvenience, insult and putdown that I’ve stuffed and dealt with has been pulled out for inspection, infusing me with smallness and weakness and… depression.
I’ll suck it up and get back to doing the most awesome best I can with the hand that’s been dealt…
First step should obviously be to contact the delivery service and complain, then return the box… but I’m paralyzed by the feelings, the reluctance to make confrontation when I feel this overwhelming underwhelm. So the unopened box sits at the receiving table near the front door to accuse me of my inabilities to deal with life.
Setback, the box of setback.
Original plans were to fly to the Northeast and spend the Sukkot week roaming the national treasure of fall color with another of the Hebrew community.
COVID-19 changed those plans, dashing them solidly in July when it was apparent that there would be no quick recovery.
With life still wreaking havoc to our prior routines, and no rest to be found among the necessary tasks, I determined to find another option.
Hubby and I had made an anniversary trek, just days before my dad arrived as our new household resident. The trek included several bodies of water over a two day drive, to determine if we would like to consider options for vacation, vacation home, or other. We liked what we saw.
With a notion of my favorite locale, I was able to secure a vacation rental that encompassed all of the ingredients for a substitute – within our driving range.
Time leading up to Sukkot was harried. So much to do, so much to plan. We knew we would be bringing dad along for the trip, and never considered setting up alternatives. Hospice smoothed the way by making certain his meds were in place and that there was a local hospice standing by should there be any needs.
We arrived, vehicles loaded down with our assemblages. Dad’s sister, her husband and son all arrived just before us, so they had the home opened up and ready. We all enjoyed a first weekend of family time, food and drink.
With nothing planned, we lolled through the rest of the week and into the weekend, recharging, unwinding, relaxing and allowing the sights and sounds of nature to soothe us.
How necessary it is to slow down, to see the grandeur of Creation, to allow our busy selves to reset and acknowledge our lack of importance. To find respite.
I don’t know what to say except that there’s always another something to take your breath away.
Retreat necessary for me, as I expect to be quite involved with end of life care for my dad.
I recognize that as painful as this is, it is an opportunity for much – and I intend to do this as best as I must.
I hope for this to be the absolute most pleasant option for him.
Spring has sprung and the fireflies have arrived. It feels early. It’s only been days since the last freeze. . .
I watched one alight on the garden bed beam, and as I peered closer, it flashed wings at me with agitated antennae. I took the hint and retreated back – and it was gone in that moment. Absent.
We are in the midst of this storm of no precedence. The unknown. Varied in strength and strike and form.
The storm activity has been one of ‘take shelter’ here. In tornado country we know how to be prepared for a short and harsh duration that may cause a term of duress… but this. . .
Prepare for taking care of family – too many in the scary category to comprehend.
Prepare to be home for extended periods… write lists, revise lists, check lists.
The theme has been prepare.
Work was deemed essential. Many hours were spent by the team to set up and roll out that particular preparation. I and my office mates are nearly full remote now – a jerky transition wrought with change and chaos and frustration – then sprinkled with joy and anticipation from my perspective. What I have oft longed for is now short term reality.
And so, after so many means of preparing in and around my own realm – I recognize, once I’ve slowed down, that I’ve gone bouncing and careening along this whole storm prep while moving over and through several stages of grief.
My emotions must also have been setting up buttresses of potential realities and … well … here we are. I imagine you or someone you know has been staging through grief steps as well.
Fireflies have been spotted. So have asparagus beetles. I’m awaiting a particular wasp to cart in luggage and set up home base.
It’s been a while since I’ve been ‘present’ here. I’m surprised to recognize that. If you’ve been along for the telling, we moved a few years back, leaving established garden spaces behind. But we’ve been busy here, building new spaces and options… and I had opportunity to .. inhale it .. breathe it in. Absorb it.
It’s good – we’re a good building team.
Greens are growing. Life is abounding here. Breathing space exists and just in time.
I hope this finds you well. Recovering, or surviving, or staging the grief steps – no matter where you are, I hope you find well .. are well, .. will be well.
I am trying to reconcile life. It’s going to get a bit messy in here, I’ll warn you now.
My last post (mere minutes ago) was about those considered essential workers for essential businesses in the good ol’ us of the a.
Feeling betrayed, seething with an underlying resentment. I now understand why my recovering sorta alcoholic has resumed a pretty high daily dose of his favorite drinky-drink. Why discussions are less comfortable and so we retreat to our spaces as his buzz wears off, hoping that I’m not falling asleep before we can have a comfortable discussion.
It’s not terrible. Honestly. We’re loners, both of us, so we do retreats well in our house. Then we share space and chat, working through the daily grind, and sharing perspectives, sometimes debating, often agreeing… Good stuff overall.
Back to the point, back to where I was heading with this – divisions. Resentments. Differences.
Today, I am looking back. Reading Exodus (Shemot) and thinking about the history, the story of the Hebrews being released, rescued from bondage by their Almighty, YHVH.
Much to think about there. Instructions. Inclusion or exclusion. Divisions. Consequences. Definitions. Schedules. New normals.
And I mesh the news that I read this morning, the catch up information I received last night, the things I’ve seen and felt and overheard over the past week.
Churchgoers in my state are pressing against the gathering confines to be able to assemble in large groups on their holy day, my guess is that they are thinking themselves exempt from what may befall them should there be a shared germ amongst them.
I live in a state that is predominantly catastrophe denounced. Most of the population that I have experienced are treating the current situation as an overblown attempt to control them, and so will not give space to those who are trying to be safe. Their leader taught them well and they are holding fast to the early sermons from that pulpit.
And so my initial thought is – fine, let them assemble. Germ in, germ out, populations decreased, so be it. Because I am a witness to hearing a child two fences over – who in the midst of playtime with other kids announced “I wanna be Hitler!!!!”
But that was a fleeting thought. Because who am I to judge, truly? And the child may grow up and realize the truth of the past and be truly remorseful for childhood play actions.
Here’s the serious part of my ramblings though – if you’re still here to read, and haven’t denounced me as a hate-filled anti-christ.
Quick truth – the same as I am not anti-social, but rather reclusive (assemble, I don’t mind – just don’t expect me to be there). I am not anti-christ, rather I believe that the worshipped beings are false gods, of no worth or purpose and that only the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the True God, Almighty. One. But I don’t have any problem with others worshipping their version of god.
So. Again, the serious part.
Economy is only kept alive by the standard of debt. An economy will only survive if peoples, companies, entities, feed the debt burden. That’s economy in a nutshell.
So why is economy so important. Consider that.
Why is safety not as important as economy. Consider that.
Why keep the masses in debt and call it the health of the nation?
Barter. Learn to garden, learn to barter. Self sustenance. Back to simpler lives, simpler times.
An extreme period of duress, for certain. Hard changes, hard truths. Hard struggles.
Hasn’t it already been hard amidst all the fineries?
Peace out, again.
Word on the streets is a “new norm”…
I construct my ideal new norm.
It consists of working remotely, with the ability to step into my own garden two or three times during the workday, to reset my brain.
A bit of respite from the turbulence and chaos and mind-spinning element that work has become.
I am peacefully enchanted by the possibilities…
And then I get shaken with the jolt of reality from my spouse, my dearly beloved.
He shares his nightmare with me – a waking thing, a thought that consumes him.
His new normal is going in to work in a place, a space, an essential business factory environment where the ‘non-essential’ staff has retired to their own safe and comfy little spaces.
He relates that he wanted to solve a problem, where a unit of measure was incorrect in their ordering system, and so the 12 units they were ordering hit their department with a cost of $2400 because one unit in the system equated to one pallet, when in actuality, when he ordered one unit, he received one item, not a pallet.
So, he had the computer open to the issue. (he’s extremely low-tech, so had no known method to share this information).
He took the laptop and walked to the office of the person who could help him solve the issue.
A non-essential who retreated.
He was resigned to the fact that he had to continue to deal with a problem that could not be resolved by him.
He had no support.
And so, his nightmare thought – he and the workers alongside him are ‘being fed to the wolves’.
They are the cattle being forced to endure, out there, with no support, bringing in their own germs and attitudes, with no respite except to return home at the end of a long and mentally demoralizing day.
Feeling used – abandoned. Left to be the slaughter for the safety of the non-essentials.
Let’s look at the whole picture folks, not just the one we think fits us best.
Oft-times I ‘bury my head in the sand’. I’m not quiet about this – I make no apologies for it. This is my thing. I avoid information and futz about in my own world, making pleasant thoughts and activities my norm, keeping out the clutter of (insert paranoia/drama/unknown reality here) what’s happening in the world at large.
It’s a cognitive bias of my own making, and I’m quite aware of that. It is also conducive to my mental health, as I am overly devout at researching information from multiple online sources once my attention is piqued. My work over the years has included the thorough research of regulations as they apply to workplaces in order to assist in compliance. I have some history in this arena – while not a professional, I am experienced.
And so we arrive at the global announcement of pandemic.
Awareness seeped in to my consciousness in early January. I poked around a bit, just enough to see the initial news reports and rebuffs, the blame and blame shift, and then the acknowledgements.
In February, I began a more thorough approach to my information gathering. I’ve read news media, government regulations, pubmed reports over several years, and radiology and autopsy reports, genetic structuring, zoonotic diseases, RNA and ACE2 proteins.
I consider myself educated enough for my own satisfaction, but likely missing details for a thorough discourse of the whole situation.
**Strong Disclaimer: I am not an authority on any medical, political, protocol or other issue **
Thus said, I am straddling the fence on what to say, how to act, shows of empathy, assistance to needy, and generally how to feel about those who I feel are making extreme errors in judgement calls.
So what I’ve decided to address here is the basics, a focus on being a prepared individual in any given circumstance, and how an overarching practice of empathy and sound rationalizations and judgement could be the world’s best approach.
Borders do not define or confine the situation currently in play.
The standard protocols of ‘herd immunity’ are for known virus strains, and this is an unknown – reports show that recovered patients have relapsed and become ill again (some instances, not all).
This virus originated with bats, a specific bat, in a specific area. But the transfer from bat to (variable) to human was unknown when I last checked. Similar to MERs or SARs, the bats host the virus and transfer. How that transfer occurs is also unknown, but it is possible that it is via guano, making a possible case for a fungal virus. How do you treat fungi in the lungs? Not easily, and certainly not viably if your lungs are already damaged.
Children do not appear to succumb to the virus. However, they may be carriers, shedding virus cells while toddling around appearing to be well – or negative for the strain.
The media, both social and news, have bordered on the ridiculous in the downplay of attention on the new virus. Ridicule for preparations, ridicule for regulations, ridicule for responses, ridicule for origination – what does ridicule solve?? When has ridicule been the overall answer to a problem?? Does verbal lashing at people you cannot see face to face make one feel like a better person??
I challenge every person to focus instead on empathy, on a bigger picture than what you feel, or what you think, or what you may be afraid of. I challenge you to focus on how to wake up every day and resolve to do the best you can today. On whatever level you need to improve — except improving your tongue-lashing and witty cutting remarks. Leave those behind and level up, make your voice a mature and informed one. Make your actions reflect what you might profess as your personal code of ethics, and be the decent human beings we all have the ability to be.
With national declarations being made, education and self-regulating are a good approach to ensuring your personal comfort.
Seriously, would you rather limit your personal encounters to avoid contracting or spreading the virus (or the flu, since that’s being touted as a more pressing disaster)? Or would you prefer going about as normal and awaiting the Command to Cease and Desist? Be aware that the declaration has made such a command an imminent reaction, should the peoples not comply on their own.
With any oncoming storm, any perceived large situation, it is always wise to prepare. Some people are naturals at this – having been extremely poor, I have been known to take a depression-era styled approach to keeping my family supplied. I’ve had bare cupboards, bare refrigerator, been on a substandard and college style diet while raising a child. I know duress. Those in this situation may run out at an alarm situation and purchase items in abundance and without a cohesive plan. Have you walked in their shoes? No? Then shut up about how they act.
Back to prepare – as you are able, continue to purchase a few extra items at each trip to the market. Get yourself prepared to isolate. The storm is coming. Panic will only put you in stress mode, making your immune system more susceptible to anything floating around – you don’t need the flu while you’re preparing for COVID-19. Be safe, be calm, be logical. What will you and your family eat? Don’t purchase what you hate. There’s no need to spend your bare resources on things that will not be used. Breathe. Make a list. Make a plan. Do it now and not later.
Think about the people around you, your family members and those unable to access resources. Make a plan to assist them. Talk to them and see what they may have already planned. Communicate and calmly determine what needs to be done and what does not.
There may be a need to isolate and self-care for up to 30 days. Know your resources, calculate your needs, and plan.
Be a decent human being
Stop bashing what others think, feel, say and do. Unity in caring for personal needs should be your focus, not what others are or are not doing. Accept that we are not all going to think, feel, act the same – but we are all living beings.
Prepare for changes. Be flexible enough to change some things, to know when you are still under your own self-regulating scope, and when that scope will shift. Know that the scope may shift.
Breathe. Find your calm. There is no need for stress-inducing panic, your body needs to be strong to handle the changes.
Peace out, y’all!
I have had depressive bouts for a long time. In the early years, they would come on as a result of a life situation, or circumstance, or poor decision, and cling to me like a strong sedative for a short duration. I would loll in the depths of despair for a few days, allowing the emotions to be acknowledged. Then, I would pick myself up and shake off the dredges – usually finding a positive action to perk me up – and resume. Don’t worry, be happy. Happy face on, life goes on.
At some point though, I stopped recognizing the depression, as it would not necessarily be tied to a thing that I could pinpoint, but rather, an accumulation of things that were akin to being in the pot of water, as the fire is started below. You don’t notice the heat, until it’s reached near boiling point. These depressive bouts didn’t give me the awareness to acknowledge and feel the pain, which I had earlier found to be an integral piece in the process of healing. Rather, these bouts were more like a drug addiction, where the chemical has lost its potency. I had built up a tolerance to the depression and a deeper state would settle on me before I would become aware.
This last bout, coupled with its added menopausal symptoms, struck a nerve finally. Likely, it was because I could finally point my finger at a cause and effect. Estrogen, you bitch! How could you do this to me?
No matter the reasoning, I now feel that I have the arsenal to effectively combat this bout, and be more aware of any future bouts to stop them before I become mired.
I’ll admit, the emotions do start to roll in, creeping from the edges like fiery smoke, and it’s usually the awareness of an angry edge that raises my alarm. I’m aware now, that alarm means it’s time to take action – turn up the music, sing it off. Take a walk, reason out the emotions. Drink some water, and redirect my attentions to some neutral subject for five minutes. And suddenly, I’m back. Me. The me who finds the positive in life – the upbeat, still reclusive, but happy me. Not the angry, withdrawn little ogre I’ve been.
So – wordy insight now given you to explain my dilemma, I thought I’d share some of the things that have helped me recover and get myself back to stability, sans pharmaceuticals or intense psycho-therapy.
These are the things I employed to counter my situation, and it has worked wonderfully. Being aware is key, I believe. I had to know exactly what I was dealing with in order to find the balances necessary for me to put into effect. Then I had to act.