This morning I awoke to the news that a lovely friend had died. This death was not Covoid-related nor was it entirely unexpected. But it still smacked me upside the heart. I mean seriously, life is stupid enough these days and then this?
And then this afternoon I got a call from my son. One of his father’s closest pals had just dropped dead from a heart attack. Also far too young and this time out of left field.
WTF? Doesn’t seem fair, right?
And that’s when I remembered that on this 14th day of April in the year 2020, life – and death – still go on. Even though it feels like the earth has stopped spinning (or at the very least slowed down to a snail’s pace) life and all its great, mediocre, minor and inconsequential events has not stopped. People are still having babies, getting divorced, celebrating birthdays (in isolation) and dying. Not everything is related to the Corona Virus. Even though it feels like we have been sucked into a vortex of sci-fi proportions, the earth is still spinning. I mean for crying out loud it is actually snowing as I write this. It is April, after all. The earth is still spinning and Mother Nature still has a sense of humour.
So I am reminded. I am reminded that holding my breath for the last 4 weeks, the next 4 weeks or even the next 4 months is not an option. Even though it’s weird and solitary and unnatural, this IS life. It is the life we are all in right now. It is the only life on offer and instead of huddling in a corner, shutting our eyes tight and hoping to wake up to a brighter day, we must choose to create that brighter day today. Tomorrow. Every day. We must choose to NOT hold our breath. We must choose to breathe. In and out and in and out and when we get scared we must remind ourselves (and those around us) that breathing is the only answer.
Today in my world there are two families grieving in isolation. There are many friends and relatives surrounding them, also grieving in isolation. There can be no reunions and hugs, no services and fellowship, no coming together to mourn and offer solace.
But we can all still breathe. We can reach out to those in pain and offer words. An ear. A note or a text. A video chat or even a heartfelt card. We can all remember that this damn virus may have knocked the planet off its axle but there are many people knocked to the ground daily by other fountains of anguish. And now THEY have to breathe twice as hard. Twice as consciously. With twice as much hope that one day life will again hold joy.
Please don’t hold your breath waiting for some finish line with this pandemic. Instead find ways to draw as much joy as you can out of every day. Figure out how to do it. Figure out how to create joy. Give joy. Share joy. Every. Single. Day.
The two sweet souls who today left this world no longer have that choice. But you do.
In the half hour that I have been writing the sky pretty-snowed like Christmas Eve, then the sun came blasting out like a hot June afternoon, then it went dull and grey and sleety and now … the sun is once again fighting for supremacy. They call this “pathetic fallacy.” When the weather mirrors the plot.
Our current plot is nuts. Sci-fi unbelievable. Yet here we are. And real life and death are still here too.
So as long as you have the choice … breathe.