Grief in the Time of Corona

Us Grievers are a funny lot.

We look normal.

We act normal…..most of the time????

And many of us function fairly well in everyday society.

But tiny variables throw us off a bit.

And slightly bigger issues, say a worldwide pandemic, trigger emotions that search for a place to live. Emotions buzz the face, fester, invite other friends…..and left unattended create a pool of emotional ugliness that demand to be attended.

I had to sit in my ugly on Tuesday. It was more of a plop. It was bit of hard landing which told me perhaps I had been avoiding it for a while.

I was on our mito support group call. We were talking about COVID19 and the anxiety these days produce for our medically complex community.

I should have no anxiety. Hubs and I are social distancing. We are healthy. We have our jobs.

We are fine.

We are fine.

We are fine.

But the underlying current of our fine-ness feels surface level. Underneath my skin, is a layer of trauma from times when we were not fine. A time when we lived every second with a medically complex child; this layer tends to bubble up when the earth is off its axis.

What is difficult is that my trauma has no tangible place. Our children are no longer with us. Hubs and I are healthy. I worry for my other Loves but the amount of worry for my other Loves seems sometimes seem insurmountable.

On Tuesday, as I sat in my ugly plop, it hit me. It hit me on a support call with mito patients.

“I don’t want you to die,” I blurted to the group.

Queue silence.

And more silence.

And so I went on, “I feel like such an ass. I am healthy. I am fine. Hubs is fine. Our jobs our fine. I have nothing, nothing, nothing to complain about.

“But in losing my Littles, I lost so much. And nothing else seems sacred. If I can lose them, I can lose anyone.”

I paused.

And then went on.

“I’m like Tom Hanks in the Green Mile.”

“Who?” asked a friend.

“The Green Mile. Tom Hanks had to live forever watching his loves die because he let an innocent man be executed. Well, except the mouse. The mouse was still alive. Maybe I’m the mouse.”

“You’re a mouse?”

“What? A mouse? No. I’m not. I’m okay. I just don’t want any of you to die. Really. Please don’t die.”

My support group promised to try to not die.

And so I sat a bit long in my ugly. I recognized the smell….survivors guilt with a touch of paranoia. I held it up to my nose before remembering I should not touch my face.

“Heather?” Said someone on the call.


“I’m sorry. I am really, really sorry.”

“Yeah. But no, really.” I said. “Oh no. Don’t be sorry. I’m okay. I’m just happy to put a name, a face, a smell,  to the uncomfortable I have been feeling. Oh, whew. I smell.”

And with that, I heaved myself from the ick and excused myself to go to another meeting.

Be kind to you, sometimes you don’t know the battles you are fighting.

And don’t die.

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