You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.Anne Lamott
I need to step away for some quiet time today.
It gets like that sometimes, doesn’t it?
It was my inbox that did it for me.
Today there was an angry message telling me COVID was fake, and part of a global control conspiracy hatched by the Illuminati. There was another from someone I know telling me that the COVID vaccine was part of a plot to make pregnant women lose their babies and to control global fertility. One from someone I have always liked and trusted asking me to sign a ‘patriot’s petition’ against mandating mask wearing because of the infringements on our rights.
I get messages like that every day, and mostly I ignore them. It has become too tiring to answer all of them.
So, I ignored those.
But then I saw the message about Vivienne. The message from Walter. The message from Chloe.
Walter, in Los Angeles, a dear friend of mine, lost his wife to COVID two weeks ago. She was 52. He lost his daughter and his unborn grandson last night. He had already lost his sister to this illness, in the first wave in New York, early last year. Walter’s family has been divided by politics, and by the politicizing of COVID, mask wearing and vaccines. His son, who thinks COVID is fake news, no longer talks to him since Walter urged his family to get the vaccine as soon as it was available. Walter asked me if I could help him find a way to go on. We Facetimed and I listened to him sob until I was sobbing too, and I had no answers for him. All I could do was bear witness, and be his friend.
Chloe has long-haul COVID. She got sick in February last year, and has never regained her health. She found me through my blog, because many of my struggles with chronic illness and incapacity have become hers. Chloe is a doctor who can no longer work. She’s having trouble dealing with the fatigue and pain and cognitive diminishment, and the guilt of being unable to adequately support her partner, also a doctor, who is exhausted and has PTSD but has to keep turning up to her job at the NHS.
Vivienne lost her life to COVID yesterday. Her son reached out to me on Facebook to let me know. I met Vivienne and her family on a holiday six years ago, and we kept in touch. She was a nurse, and her husband is in the military in the UK. She was 48. I’d only messaged her a few days before. She’d tested positive to COVID, but had been managing at home and was beginning to feel better. Somehow yesterday she deteriorated and then passed away in the ambulance, before she could be admitted to hospital. I spent time today looking at a photo I took of Vivienne in a café in Dubrovnik. In that photo she is so bright and full of life. She was the anchor for her entire family, and her son Max told me they don’t know how they will manage. Max is 19, and the oldest. His three siblings are all still at school.
Oh, my heart. My aching heart.
So, I’ll step away and go make a cup of tea. I’ll sit in my garden and eat toast and watch the birds, and gather myself back together.
We’re living in extraordinary times. People keep asking me when things will go back to ‘normal’. Please, dear readers, know that ‘normal’ is something we won’t see again. We can’t ever go back to how things were; pre-COVID, pre-climate crisis, pre-all the things that need to change.
To manage these changing times we must look after ourselves and each other. We need to be gentle with ourselves and everyone we meet, because the stresses of our world affect us all.
Okay, I’m off to take that moment of quiet time. I’ll journal. I’ll get a hug from my husband. I’ll phone my sister later for a chat. These are my best coping strategies..
Sending you love, a long warm hug, and hope for your heart, Nicole xx