I had a strange evening yesterday. Bittersweet and overwhelming, the tears suddenly erupted: a therapeutic mess of fear, sadness ... but most of all? Gratitude. And that gratitude came from love, realizations, photos, simple words. Let me explain:
I'm a long way from a home (the Northeast) I'm not sure I can call home anymore. In five years, a lot has changed. Priorities, obligations ... you know how it is. If I felt unmoored since moving, it's nothing compared to the last week. I struggle with anxiety and this virus situation has me trying to fight the worst of it tooth and nail. To be honest, I have been damn lucky, though. Post-move, I still have daily, weekly, or monthly calls with friends. And then there is social media. Over the last week, I've been keeping touch heavily with many of the people I love, with one friend somehow always calling just when I need to talk the most.
But last night spurred a perfect storm of the worries we are all dealing with, the death of a wonderful lady, my dad's sanity following the same trends as the market, a hefty decision I have to make, worrying about friends who are coping with so much right now....
Yesterday morning, my amazing friend since I was fifteen decided to post an invitation for virtual drinks at 8pm on her FB wall. Shortly before 8pm, my friend, Mike ... whose mom had just died (not from Covid-19) ... was looking for photos of her so he had something to use at a two-hour wake and funeral limited to ten people ... which now won't happen since New York is on lockdown. He found photos of our 'crew' all through high school, college, and into adulthood. We looked ridiculous in some of them and you could 'hear' the laughter in our group texting. And then the virtual drinks started over on FB, and by some coincidence, I knew everyone who participated ... mostly college friends, some high school. We liked, haha'd commented for over an hour and agreed to do it again. We didn't solve anything, of course. But in the end, those of us who knew Mike's mom toasted her, although he wasn't present at the moment on the thread ... he was too busy making some of us laugh and cry on that photo text thread. So, we wouldn't be gathering together this weekend at a wake or funeral as we always imagined would happen as our parents' aged, but there was power for me in that toast ... in the sharing of photos ... in the connecting simply to ask how is everybody doing? Admittedly, the photos had me worrying my life was flashing before my eyes ... but that's my anxiety issues talking. One day, I'm going to learn how to shut it up.
So there I was, bombarded with photos from my past, my friend's sorrow over his mom, connection with friends I don't get to talk to in our normal lives, messaging with my newest super special friend coping with her dog's illness ... seeing posts from another new friend about missing her military husband and the long list of things she's trying to be strong about, praying for a respiratory therapist to stay safe .... worrying about people far and wind ... some I barely know.... In other words, a perfect storm of emotion.
I broke. Crying and laughing at the same time. Must have been a sight. But it was healing, in a way. My husband is fond of saying, "Your four walls are not your home no matter how long you've been there." It's a rather deep statement coming from him, let me tell ya'! But he's right.
Via posts, chats, messaging, and phone calls, I was 'home' last night surrounded by people I care about. And it was messy, silly, sorrowful, fun, nostalgic. And isn't that home? We weren't anywhere near each other physically, but our personal energies had come together.
My heart was full last night and still is today. Sure, it races with moments of panic every couple of hours. Am I worried about money? Terrified. Health, of course, too. But I'm finding what's most important right now is keeping it together. The only way I can do that is by living too adages:
Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also, and
Home is where the heart is.
My friends and family are my treasure ... and they are my home.
Let's all do our best to give of our hearts during this bizarro situation.
What are you doing to stay sane?