Sunday Morning ~ Breathing
Kwa aja agona kunsi ku mwala, mdi aona mwala kupuma. ~ Only those who sleep under the rock are able to see the rock breathing.
~ Chewa proverb
March 22, 2020
I’ve had a hard time this week figuring out what I am most anxious about. It’s not dying of this virus, though, maybe that is buried somewhere in my psyche. My kids dying? Yeah, probably worried about that.
I thought it might be having the election canceled, but then researched that and learned that without an election the orange man would be out of office for sure on inauguration day. That was a relief. Whether he actually leaves or not is an anxiety for another day.
Running out of food? I reassured myself that I’ve got enough for a few months at least, though variety wouldn’t exist. And soon I will be picking spring greens and can subsist on those for awhile. Isn’t this the fantasy I’ve harbored for my whole life? Living off the land?
Our local health care system getting overwhelmed? Not enough respirators? Yes, for sure I’m worried about that. I will certainly start working again but am not sure in what capacity. That scenario is evolving. It might be doing home births as more women are afraid to go to the hospital.
Feeling useless? Yes, that does make me anxious.
When I agreed to take the grandkids here for two weeks (the projected time for school to be canceled), I thought it would be just that, two weeks. That would give their parents time to get set up for working at home and them a place with room to run while that was happening. Then things changed by the hour. It wasn’t going to be the romantic February vacation we’d just spent: visiting the library, dropping in on friends, nights out at the movies. By the time I’d gotten back here with them last Sunday it was clear we’d be completely isolated and my anxiety mounted. What if I got sick?
My house is familiar to them but they do not want to be alone. Ever. When the sun goes down, they are pretty much attached to me. Yea, so sleeping, or more accurately, not sleeping, was a challenge the first few days. Amelia, who barely moves all night is fine in my bed with me. She reads her book, I read mine. When she’s sleepy enough she rolls over and falls asleep. James, on the other hand, is a nightmare to sleep (or not sleep) with. He flops all over the place, thrusts his elbows into my nose, bangs his head into mine so his long hair is all over my face, and rolls around like he’s possessed. The first night, as I clung to the side of the bed trying not to fall out, I started worrying about what I’d gotten myself into. I could not do two weeks of this. (What if it’s months?) I’d set up a separate bed for James but even though it was next to mine he was scared to be separated.
I thought of kids locked in cages after being torn from their parents. I can’t bear the thought. I have to shake my head to get rid of it.
I realize I’ve been anxious for over three years.
It took a few nights but we adjusted and James got more comfortable in his own bed. He didn’t like it but he stopped fighting it. I slept better. That brought my anxiety back down to above-normal levels. I started thinking of new normals. We might not like it but we’ll stop fighting it.
I wonder if my mother felt like this during the polio epidemic? I remember standing in line outside our church waiting for our turn to receive the vaccine. I wondered how they notified people to be there? Newspaper? Loudspeaker? Was my mother anxious, worried the hospital would not have enough iron lungs?
Deep breaths are good for anxiety. I’m grateful for each one I take.
Love to all,