I lost a step yesterday.
Monday, I woke up with more energy than I had in months since taking on MIL’s fulltime care. I got out for a run, I bought a coffee, and I savoured the sunshine and budding trees as I power walked home. Tuesday, my cat died, for all intent and purpose, in my arms. Wednesday, I had to clean and bathe my MIL after she mumbled a need to poop, a few minutes too late. Thursday, I had to talk a family member whose financial and personal situation combined with Covid-19 lockdown had them teetering on the brink, off the ledge. After ensuring that person was safe and had brainstormed some solutions, and MIL had used the toilet and was safely back to the sofa, I locked myself in my room, fell down, and cried.
Being a caregiver is an emotional roller coaster. Being a caregiver who is also an empath living during a world-wide pandemic where any one of her precious loved ones could die for the want of hand soap, propane, or an unwashed apple, is traumatizing.
Today I had to go out for groceries. I took two pairs of the gloves I bought to aid MIL’s toilet trips, and used one pair to wear in the grocery store, carefully observing the 6’ distance rule and orange-tape arrows on the floor demarking one-way direction down the aisles, as I bought up everything we needed but the yeast Son asked for, and toilet paper and paper towel we need, because… Panic buying?
Before leaving the store, I asked for a squirt of sanitizer to sanitize my CC. Back at my truck, I removed a glove to open the truck door, put the glove back on to load the groceries, then peeled off both gloves so they turned inside out, rolling them in a wad of tissue before sanitizing my hands and locking up the truck to walk back to the store entrance to toss the balled up gloves and tissue in the garbage. Then I went for fuel, using the second set of gloves. At the butchers, I went gloveless, but made sure to sanitize my hands, and keys, when I got back to the truck. After unloading all the groceries at home, I washed my hands like I’d packed in thirty fresh dog turds barehanded, instead of plastic bags bulging with food and sundries. And I won’t know for two weeks if the precautions I took to protect the five of us in this home, paid off. Then I’ll have to go out for groceries again.
Losing a step, or an entire day, to the emotional toll this pandemic is wreaking on people’s lives, is normal. Healthy.
Anyone who thinks they, or others, should use their sudden work-from-home or school-from-home time to better use than they did when they went out of the house to meet those obligations, is either single and childless, or clueless. And so is their boss, if their boss is expecting it.
Nothing is normal. Nothing is easy. Everything is a Covid-19 Degree more difficult, especially for anyone responsible for the care and feeding of others, whether they’re also trying to work from home or elsewhere, or not. So be gentle with yourself, and the ones around you. We’re all doing our best, even if our best at the moment, means we’re on the floor, sobbing.
Sorrow has its reward. It never leaves us where it found us.~Mary Baker Eddy