2020, despite its symmetrical sound, has been the worst, the pits, the nadir, the lowest…etc. You get the picture. I can’t wait for 2021, and that is said from someone of advanced years who doesn’t want the clock to move one little bit, except when it is 5:00 and I can imbibe! I thought that being a widow, and the loneliness and heartache in 2015 would be my worst year. But the loneliness, isolation, and fear of the pandemic has brought back all the fears of the loss of my dearly loved spouse in spades! The pandemic has made fear into a pervasive aura that cannot be assuaged. I grieve for the loss of my freedom. I grieve for the loss of my husband who would have been happily ensconced with me under quarantine forming a cozy cocoon. Double grief!
Isolation has brought up all the feelings I experienced when I became a widow. But I am not alone in the grief of a lost year. There is a collective grief in the world for the loss of 2020, and for the anguish experiencing fear and isolation. We are communally experiencing “chronophobia,” (or should I say “corona-phobia”), which is the fear of the passage of time usually because our time on earth is limited. I want my year back! At any age, we feel robbed when we are forced into isolation due to a traumatic event like COVID-19. 2020 has wrought plagues and pestilence upon us. Since we can’t see an end in sight, it makes more stress, worrying over things over which we have no control. We are stuck in an episode of Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past: In Search of Lost Time.
We are universally experiencing Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’s five stages of grief, over the loss of this pandemic year. First there is denial: “How can this pandemic be real?” Then there is anger, especially for the way the pandemic was handled by the politicians! Then there is the bargaining chip — all the “what ifs,” and bargaining with a higher power to be a perfect person if this will go away. Then, of course, depression sets in due to the isolation and loneliness. Finally, there is acceptance which indicates “it happened, and I am going to muster up all my courage to get through this year.” There is also acceptance that we are in a world jointly grieving, which somehow makes it more acceptable.
But how do we muster up enough courage to stem the tide of grief? We develop tools to re-take control of our lives. We walk outside, wearing a mask of course, to get our endorphins up to speed. We are amazed at how successfully we can work from home, minus the trips to the kitchen for snacks! Parents are bonding well with children and forging even better relationships. We have increased our culinary skills to the max. We have learned to binge well on all the fabulous series, yes, including Netflix The Queen’s Gambit. We are trying to train safely with yoga videos and on-line trainer sessions, while ordering foam rollers and stretch bands from Amazon. We have perfected Zoom and we can get virtual hugs on line from friends and family.
So bedamned 2020!
What I am hoping for in 2021!
These are my New Year’s hopes, not resolutions. I am resolute that I will forever cherish these things and never take them for granted.
- A vaccine, of course which will change the trajectory of our lives.
And when there is a vaccine, or a treatment these are the things I am hoping for:
- A hug. Yes, a real bear hug from my family and friends. I’d even take a good high five these days! Right now, I have to settle for an elbow bump.
- Dinners out at restaurants indoors! I miss dinners out with friends!
- Going to a movie. Oh, how we didn’t value that activity properly!
- Wearing makeup which means a mask is not necessary! Ok, I don’t miss the time makeup took to apply, but I do miss looking my best.
- I miss wearing clothes other than sweats.
- I miss parties. I am not a party girl, but I miss cooking for friends or going to their houses for dinner parties.
- I miss shopping at stores and actually trying on clothes safely. My mother used to say she liked to “touch a few things.”
- I miss the theatre and live performances. We most certainly took this freedom for granted!
- I miss working out at a gym. Ok, I don’t miss the energy it took to work out on a day I would rather be in bed reading the paper. But I do miss the feeling of satisfaction and the endorphins!
- I miss travel. I miss going to New York and visiting friends. OK, I don’t miss the TSA lines, but I do miss traveling.
Things I will not miss!
- Remembering to wear a mask!
- Mask acne which I have dubbed “macne!”
- Remembering to wash my hands each time I come home.
- The amount of Purell I have purchased.
- The toll the Purell and constant hand-washing took on my hands.
- The utter isolation and loneliness that the pandemic has wrought.
And if you would like to buy my new book: https://www.amazon.com/Jokes-Over-You-Come-Back/dp/1981137866/