Today, I dropped my 77 year old husband off at a public health vaccine clinic for his first dose of the vaccine against Covid-19.
I can finally exhale the breath I’ve been holding for the past year.
I was one of those people you cursed, I was never short of toilet paper. Not because of the virus, but because of the look on my husband’s face the day I had to hand him Kleenex through the bathroom door after telling him at the grocery store we didn’t need toilet paper an hour before. It was our closest day to a divorce in 32 years, but that’s another story.
Hoarder is my baseline personality. Not the garbage on the floors and trails through the house kind of hoarder, nor the survivalist prepper, not really. I don’t have near enough set aside to be a prepper, but enough for my oldest child to tease me about my “Apocalypse Pantry” years before Covid-19 came to town. Frankly, I was anxious when things closed down last March because of how low I’d let our supplies get now that we are empty nesters.
We were determined to do whatever it took to stay safe. We welcomed our youngest grandchild to Grandparents Island (her parents had high risk jobs), and we planned to wait it out, making do with what we had. The news was scary, and we worried about our kids, family, and friends. Several fell ill, and a couple needed to be hospitalized, but everyone has recovered without lasting effects.
Overall, we’ve faired well, but it’s been hard. There were several things I didn’t anticipate or even think about.
I am SICK of everything I know how to cook! After eight months of exclusively eating my own cooking, nothing I can make sounds good to eat to me or to him. Every meal, except breakfast (Thank you Lord for oatmeal and cold cereal!), is preceded by at least a thirty minute discussion about what to eat. Sometimes it takes longer and sometimes it gets heated. I know nothing sounds good, geez, just choose something for me to make already!
The emotional toll has been devastating. You’ve lived it, you know. Our situations are all different, but this past year has required terrible sacrifices. Driving away from a grandson in his cap and gown without a hug after his “Drive by Grad Party,” hearing a five year old grandchild call out as we drove away, “Don’t forget me!” because we can’t spent our afternoons playing together anymore.
It has taken SO LONG to get to this point. This year has felt the longest, but also, as each day has blurred into the next, it seemed as if time stood still. I know it is amazingly fast in terms of vaccine creation, I’m talking about the feelings, not the science. It has taken forever to get to this point. I didn’t expect to get so tired, so frustrated, and I have it easier than most. I know that. I just can’t imagine how hard this has been for those who’ve lost loved ones and couldn’t say goodbye, or those families struggling to educate their children, work from home, and put three meals all on the same table each day.
If that’s you, struggling and holding on by a thread, hang in there! Whether it never goes away or is eradicated tomorrow, we’re through the worst of it. There is light, just visible in the distance. Don’t give up! We can make it!
Our lives are so much more important and interconnected to each other than we realized, until we couldn’t be together and do for each other. Together, we come into a new year with a renewed sense of how much we need each other. We can appreciate and treat each other better. Let us strive for this silver lining from our forced isolation.
All these thoughts surged to the surface as my husband handed me his Vaccine Record Card. And tears came too, for the lost year and hope for our future.