This morning a song (isn’t it always a song?) brought a tsunami of walled up grief down on me, and I sat in my kitchen and cried, and cried, and cried. Me, the queen of tears, hasn’t cried in weeks. Not once. Until this morning. It all washed over me, and as I watched the birds at my feeder, and the water in the bay, I just felt such a deep sadness.
I cried because I thought of my eldest son first, this song, and that he and his girlfriend, who live in NYC and are surrounded by this invisible threat. I cried because they are wise and careful, but the numbers make me shudder, and I’m a mother first, and so, I cried.
I cried for my daughter in Israel, who is trying to care for two little boys. I cried because she has found strengths she forgot she had. I cried because my grandson made the cutest picture of peppers, which his ema, mommy, taught him about. Peter Piper Picked A Peck of Pickled Peppers. I cried because she is shining, but exhausted and stretched, as she and my son-in-law try to live in 900 square feet of confinement and nourish little people.
I cried because my youngest son, Man Cub, is 23 and that’s a strange space––just exiting childhood, but not quite adulthood. That’s different depending on where you live, but I know that 23 is not supposed to be the time when everyone you love throws statistics and warning at you–– when you just want to be with your girlfriend, and go camping, and work, and play, and do it some more. I cried because that is lost right now in all of the statistics and warnings. And I am sorry.
I cried for all the high school seniors and college seniors who are missing this special time in their lives, that doesn’t come again. I cried for all the kids at home, missing their friends. I cried because I know that seems small, but to them it’s the world, and we should all remember that.
I cried for all my friends who are stuck at home, and who feel isolated and anxious. I cried for the world-wide trauma that so many people are experiencing.
I cried for the beauty of so many of those people sewing masks for medical staff. I am so moved and grateful.
I cried because the generosity of so many is so beautiful it fills me with hope and love.
I cried for my husband and his colleagues, who are on the front line and worry daily about paying their staff, caring for people in this crisis, while telling others that they will need to wait, because their pain is not “essential” right now. I cried because the toll of asking people in pain to wait, weighs on my husband’s shoulders every day. I cried because he and all of his colleagues are risking their health for all of us–– and it’s horrifying.
I cried because each time my husband walks in the door, at the end of his essential day, I worry that he may be bringing in something that could literally kill me, and we both dance around that every single evening that he comes home from the hospital. And I cried because each morning he leaves, I worry about stats and N95 masks.
I cried because I’m high risk, and so many others people are, too. This will not go away for people like me, until there’s a vaccine or cure. When others breathe a sigh of relief, and go back to their lives, many of us will have to continue to worry about something we can’t see, that we must somehow avoid––we will have to avoid your collective sighs. I cried for these huge unknowns.
I cried because when I warned the manager of Regal theaters that they had NO wipes and all of the staff was touching everything, when I went to my last movie weeks ago, he actually laughed at me. And when I called the manager of our local Haggens, he told me that corporate made the policies, and he was sorry, but cashiers can’t use sanitizer all the time, it ruins the machines.
I cried because all of those folks working in the grocery stores are taking such big risks for us all, and while I can’t go there right now, I’m grateful they continue to be there for us.
I cried because I wonder when (if) I’ll ever feel safe in the grocery store, or the theater, or a restaurant again. I know it will take a while, and that awkward phase will feel uncertain and strange. I cried because normal is gone, and maybe that’s a good thing.
I cried because whether we get along or we don’t, whether I know you, or you’re a stranger, I believe our tears mix together and we are all in this together. That humbles me to the core. And it makes me cry.
I cried because I can’t bear to hear the news, and I can’t turn it off.
I cried because the last time I posted I was focused on gratitude and I really thought this year was going to be “my year.” And then it all went up in a puff of dark smoke when: my car was totaled; I got a concussion and whiplash; I started following a story out of China, the story started to move; shit got real, and well, I cried.
I cried because I miss my weekly lunch with one of my closest friends. I cried because tomorrow is her birthday and the flowers I ordered won’t be delivered, and we won’t sit and laugh together, like we do each week.
I cried because watching Anne With An E each day, as I walk on my treadmill, brings me such joy and healing. That spirited, redheaded girl reminds me so much of me when I was little, and I feel compassion for her trauma and resilience––and that has allowed me to maybe have some compassion for the hurt girl inside, who is still trying to be nurtured and healed. This series is so filled with magic and beauty, everyone should watch it. It’s what we need to see and know right now: that our relationships matter most.
I cried because when I brought dinner to a dear friend last night, because she needs help, I couldn’t hug her, or see her. I had to let her husband take the food from my trunk. I just wanted to hug her and tell her this will all be okay. Even if I don’t know when or what that will look like. I cried because her pain is not essential right now, and she is one of the strongest people I know, who is in non-essential pain.
I cried because every day feels different and strange–– in ways that are scary and in ways that bring me joy. I am writing more. I haven’t been blogging until now, but working on my novel, but this week I wrote a chapter, this blog post, and a children’s book that I feel proud of and excited about.
I cried because when I read that children’s book to my 4.5 year old grandson, he was totally absorbed in it, and smiled when he should smile, and frowned when he should, and told me “I love that story, Mima,” when I was done. I cried because my writing landed where and how it was meant to land.
I cried because I haven’t written so much in months. And I’ve missed it, even though I am the only thing holding me back. I cried because I’ve missed this space, and then I started writing again. I cried with trepidation and with conviction.
I cried because I miss my usual routine, even as I embrace one that has been more productive and centered.
I cried because I love this solitude and I hate that there’s no choice.
I cried because I desperately miss my work at Hospice, and I know that they are struggling to do the sacred work they do, without volunteers who do so much to help the team be strong. I know those nurses and staff are working so much harder to take care of people in their last days, and trying to keep everyone safe. I cried because I miss the people I love there, and the people I can’t sit with, and the joy that work brings me.
I cried for fractured and broken ties that still hurt, that this solitude shines a light on. And I cry for the bonds that sustain me.
I cried because more than ever I hate our president, and how carelessly he handles all of this––this, being the people I love, and the people I don’t know. I cried because science and facts are not something he embraces, in a time when we need them more than ever. I feel sick every time he speaks, and shows a complete lack of concern for MY BOY and every other son, daughter, mother, father, aunt, uncle, niece and nephew, grandmother and grandfather, dear friend, who are at risk, if we don’t take this seriously and put lives above dollars. And this ongoing anger with him just eats me up, and I have to work harder to move beyond it.
I cried because I know that the dollars matter so much, too. I worry about a fellow writer and fisherwoman who is literally trying to keep her boat afloat, as she also donates salmon to those in need. I worry about so many people who work so hard, and don’t know how they’ll make it. Which is more important: lives or economy? These questions wash over me, and I feel stricken.
I cried because my children are all so far from me, and even if I know they are smart and competent and as safe as they can be, they are not near us. I can’t go to them. I can’t hold my grandsons or my children, at a time when I just want to sweep them up in my arms and remind them that they are everything. Everything.
I cried because Italians are singing, and cheering for healthcare workers, as they are surrounded by loss. I cried because we’re all confined, doing our best or our worst.
I cried because my (exchange student) son in China is worried about me, having survived 2 months of strict quarantine, when friends and so many died. “Mum,” he says, “please take this seriously, this is the most horrible thing I ever imagined.” I cried because he’s worried about me, and that is so beautiful. I cried because he’s mailed me masks. His sweet concern fills me with bittersweet joy.
I cried because during my last “public” walk, a week ago, along the boardwalk that I love so much, I heard someone on the phone, saying that the Chinese did this on purpose and that this Chinese Virus is a hoax, even as he told that person that the Chinese are trying to kill us all. And in that moment, thinking of my son, China, who I love, I wanted to push that ignorant man in the water, and not throw him a line. I cried because I thought that.
I cried because each time my sweet grandson talks to me on skype, he asks when I will come, and I have no answer. Not this week, when I would have been arriving. Not next week, when I would have been past my jetlag, and we would be watching the parrots and exploring the parks and streets where he lives. Not now, when I would be drinking a latte at my favorite local café in Israel, while my dearest boy eats a bakery treat next to me, and the café owner welcomes me back in Hebrew and I answer in English, and we smile and connect again. Not now when I would be getting to know my newest grandson, and helping him to walk. Not getting to hold that baby, before he is fully a toddler–– because time is rushing by, and I am stuck here. In this kitchen. Without them.
I cried because the Avett Brother’s If I Get Murdered In the City, brings me to tears, every single time. “He said I love you, and I’m proud of you both, in so many different way.” “Always remember there was nothing worth sharing, like the love that let us share our name.”
I cried because this song reminds me of my children in faraway places. And that reminds me of all the other things I love and miss, and all the feelings I’ve tried to push down for weeks. I felt this wall of saved-up grief come rushing in, even as I sit here feeling solid as a rock and ready for the long road ahead.
I cried because the birds at my feeder and the music is so soothing, that today I cried.
We are all in this. We are all coping in different ways, no doubt. Some people cry, and some pull up their boots. Today I am writing. But the birds still come to my feeder, and the water still moves toward the shore. We still love, and miss, and laugh, and hope this will all bring us closer, and leave us stronger. This will not go away quickly, and we will all see numbers that represent people who have been hit so much harder by this. We will read the numbers and say a quiet thank you––to God or the Universe, or Allah, or Adonai, or whoever we speak to when we are silent and seeking––that that number is not someone we love.
I cried because, well, social distancing.
From the start, my motto has been physical distancing, social connections. I am writing this and sharing my tears this morning, to connect. I hope you are out there. I hope you are reading this. I hope that we can all grab a life line and float together, on hope that is fragile but more important than ever before. Tell me you’re here.
I am writing again, and I would love to think that one of the silver linings is that I find my way back to this blog, and the readers I’ve missed. I hope that there is silver in any of these linings.
I cried just now because a song reminded me that this is worth some tears, even as I set my sights on hope. I cried for about five minutes, but those tears held weeks of anxiety and concern. They held hours of wondering and even more hours of hoping. These tears held prayers and emotions I’ve held down and finally let fly. I cried for gratitude. This morning, I cried.
Thank you for stopping by. Thank you for reading my words. It means more than you can know. Thanks for leaving a comment; please do. If you want to read more, check out the links I’ve provided, or take a look at the archives on the right of this page.
If you need a good cry, as you dance, this song will always be one of my favorites. Peter Gabriel wrote it right after the 9/11 attacks. It rings true, now and always.
* * *
KAPOW! Have you stopped by Tales From the Motherland Facebook page to spread some fairy dust? I’m grateful for each Like. Follow me on Twitter, LeBron James does (for real… well, he did. But he may have dropped me recently)! Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. Honest, constructive feedback is always appreciated. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, no spam.
©2011-2020 All content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, I’m grateful, but please give proper credit and link back to my work; plagiarism sucks!