With our state stalled in its Safe Start plan (no counties are being moved forward right now), things have just settled into this weird situation that I refuse to call “new normal”. The weather is gorgeous, and in any other year us PNW’ers would be emerging from our caves, blinking at the sunlight and complaining about the heat but super excited to be able to go outside without a coat on.
Instead, we are emerging from our caves, blinking at the sunlight, and sweating into our face masks and trying to figure out what we are allowed to do and how to avoid infecting our friends and family with a virus that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.
I don’t mind wearing masks in stores, it’s become a habit by now; but I greatly dislike wearing them at work… with one on, I don’t drink enough water and have been getting headaches; it’s difficult to hear people because voices are muffled and I already have a hearing problem; they fog up my glasses. My office contains paperwork that is accessed by several people, so even though I don’t legally have to wear a mask while I’m working in my office alone, I do have to wear it most of the time because of all the people that come in.We can’t congregate in the kitchen, so most folks eat at their desk, which grosses me out. Not to mention the full-stop on all of our normal team-building / camaraderie things we can’t do right now. Our annual holiday party is probably cancelled for the first time ever. Getting through the summer seems doable, but thinking about socially-distanced holidays is really depressing.
On a personal note (as if my blog isn’t personal to begin with), we finally got together for the family memorial for the loved one on Saturday. With the nice weather, we were able to stand outside, distanced and with masks on, and close a chapter in this story. The loved one joins several others, near the river at the base of a newly-planted tree on family property, where he can be visited frequently. It was low-key, with no formal service or speeches, just quiet reflection. What is already an uncomfortable event became even more so with very few hugs as everyone tried to respect the distancing but still offer support and empathy to each other. While it was good to see family, it felt somewhat stilted and awkward with the pandemic procedures hanging over everything.
The Mr and I have taken on the rehabilitation of the loved one’s house, with help from the in-laws. The process of cleaning, repairing, painting, replacing, and updating is therapeutic. Not as a way of erasing the loved one from our lives, but more as a “we could have done this for you if you’d just asked / if we’d only known you’d needed help” kind of way. It doesn’t assuage our guilt over missing the signs (were there signs?) but it definitely gives our grief a focus and will create a fresh start for another young family.
We keep a calendar on the wall at home, the old fashioned printed kind that you write on. Last night the Mr realized we haven’t marked on the days in an entire week. When the entire world is cancelled there isn’t much point to a calendar… Aside from the family memorial gathering, there has been precious little to remember to show up for.
We have a new baby in the family, but the pandemic keeps me from going to visit; I could not live with the guilt if I was responsible for infecting anyone outside my bubble. Especially a little one. But oh, the thought of snuggling a baby, with the way they curl up like a little walnut.
Also – I’m getting damned tired of video meetings.