Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Since my last piece, my husband and I both got sick, and are still coughing and tire easily. We never ran a high fever, so weren't able to be tested, though we still had most other symptoms. He slept for five days straight, and then some. I did similar, but with Momdar on, because the house and family still had to function. The spawn were as helpful as they could be while keeping their distance. The dogs and cats were fed and slept against us. Well, one of the cats, because the other is so quintessentially cat.
My son was laid off when his restaurant closed early on. He's an artist, and has been collaborating on some works with friends, but creativity is kind of null for all of us these days, under this heavy global cloud. Mine has essentially been funneled into cooking and baking, because if we're all going to go down together as the old song goes, it may as well be with a full belly of delicious carbs.
My oldest is working from home back in Virginia. I won't see him for his birthday in a couple of weeks.
My daughter's twelfth birthday came and went with a poorly executed Zoom party and song. I managed to bake a cake, Her dad made chocolate frosting and frosted it. We had enough candles. I added three to grow on. Her district moved spring break up to last week, so they could plan how to ride this out academically. She's supposedly back at it, but it seems to be a minimal class time per day, a bit of school work, and that's okay with me. One of her teachers attended the Zoom party, with utmost patience while we bumbled through it.
I've been watching musicians and other figures writ large drop off in headlines, old and youngish, well, about my age, and young people, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, grandparents through a twitter feed of sorrow and helplessness. People tell their stories of not being able to hold their loved one's hand, as a nurse tells them over a phone call, that that was their last breath, they are gone.
It was easier to be cavalier a month ago. Too many people have some sort of superman complex and act in ways they think this won't touch them, but it will. It's touching all of us.
I have always been mindful of mortality, not afraid of it, but there's a basic poetic sensibility that is this. We watch the world passing in all of its ways, record its colors and winds, know the history is in the stories of people and how we are connected or individuals. These stories, humanity is at the precipice of a cliff. This is just the few first lemmings to fall. And it's so many already.
I was okay.
I was really okay, if sad about artists in headlines.
And then John Prine died last night.
I sobbed. His death wasn't unexpected, but it hurt. He'd battled back from cancer, wrote a gorgeous album a couple of years ago, a long goodbye and fun hello to the other side, the poet laying out his sensibility. I think that's when the reality of what's ahead finally hit me. No one will survive this without losing someone, or several.
A friend posted this article on the book of faces, from Oxford American. Though it's from around the album's release, it's a great tribute to him. It's a long ride in an old car, getting to know an old friend.
Please, please, please stay well, stay home, if you can. Thank you essential workers from medical to grocery.
May we not lose so many of us as we anticipate. Call your loved ones. Stay safe.