Awake with my fears in a time of pandemic

Awake with my fears in a time of pandemic

I am pushing forward, but I am afraid. I am waking up, getting breakfast—my son always wants chicken broth and rice for some reason, which … is not the hill I’m going to die on right now—working, always keeping my head down and attending to the next task. The next post, the next increment of time to try to be a good parent who doesn’t rely too heavily on screen time, the next meal that needs to happen, the need to be at least a little active so my son will sleep and I will not spin screaming into a mess of pent-up energy. But then I am not going to sleep, anyway. 

I am going to lie awake, unable to push my fear aside. From infancy it took me a long time to fall asleep, so I have an arsenal of tactics for calming my mind and relaxing and finally sleeping, but they have abandoned me. This one I cannot push aside as I pushed aside even the 2016 election—on all but two awful nights—and my father’s death.

About that. We are coming up on the first anniversary of my beloved father’s death and I cannot see my mother. No, more than that. We are coming up on the first anniversary of my beloved father’s death and I fear for my also-beloved mother.

We are coming up on my son’s fourth birthday and I have gone from fretting over how we were going to tell him his birthday party had to be canceled to, after reading articles like this and this, fearing that I won’t be there for his next one. I have no risk factors that I know of, but still, there’s the fear.

I am telling my son again and again about the Irish potato famine—he keeps asking, kids are weird—focusing on how the reason the potato blight was so deadly was because the economy was so unequal and people were so poor, and I am thinking about how much more deadly disasters are when people are living on the knife’s edge, as too many are here and now.

I am thinking about how over the past year I have canceled most of one vacation because my father died, canceled another because we were having his memorial service, abandoned plans for another because my cat was dying, and am now canceling another because of a global pandemic. 

I am lucky. Check that: I am ridiculously privileged. We both have our jobs, still, and we have a home and savings. We have a place to go outside. Because I read Mark Sumner’s work, I stocked up starting in February. I am still afraid of what’s to come.

I am moving forward. There’s more news to write about. We need to go out and get some fresh air and sunshine, when the sun shines. We need to figure out the best way to divide our current food into meals and find the best way to get more food delivered when we need it. We need to try to be there to keep our son happy when he has lost so much of the fun in his life. We need to look around and figure out how best to support people who have less than we do. There is always, always more news to write about.

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