I haven’t written here for weeks.
I lost my voice a while ago. Covid took it, and I had no idea how to get it back.
I’ve been enormously lucky, and I know that. As the United States passes the point of half a million deaths from this terrible new disease, I am one of the few who can say that I have not lost anyone close to me. Yes, my family has been hit by the virus, and we have had our terrified days of wondering how badly our loved ones will suffer, but to date we have not lost a family member.
We are lucky.
I know that.
But as we come closer, day by day, to the end of this seemingly endless stretch of pandemic days, I am ever more aware of all that we have individually and collectively lost. As that faint light at the end of our universal tunnel grows incrementally closer, I find it harder and harder to look away from all that has been stolen from us.
I will turn 65 years old in three short weeks. I’ll be able to get my vaccination, and within six more weeks, I’ll be essentially free of the fear that has gripped the world for the past year.
I can’t wait for that moment. I am truthfully breathless at the thought of being so free, finally, and so able to once again embrace my life.
But this “almost there” feeling has somehow catapulted me right back to the early fears of this terrible global disaster. And I can’t stop thinking of all that we’ve lost, and all that we now have a duty to mourn.
I am so sad tonight.
My heart is breaking at the thought of all the birthdays I didn’t get to celebrate last year. It hurts to think about the weddings that didn’t ever happen, including the wedding of my youngest child to his wonderful, beautiful, much loved partner. I was so ready to dance and laugh and celebrate with them last summer, but it didn’t happen because of Covid.
I cry when I stop to realize that my newest grandchild is approaching a year old, but has never even once been held by the aunts, uncles, grandparents and great-grandparents who love him so much. He is already saying words, crawling around the house and feeding himself, but the people who should know him best have yet to even kiss his forehead.
I dream every night of earlier times. I dream of my now grown sons, and of the feel of their arms around me. Sometimes I dream of them as children, when I could fold them against my body and know that I was keeping them safe. Sometimes I dream of them as men, and how I loved to rest my head against their strong shoulders, knowing that they were happy and strong.
It’s been an entire year without those hugs. A full year without one shared dinner. Without a single morning of waking up in the same space. It has been 12 long, painful, difficult, exhausting months of wondering what would happen to us next. Week after week after week of Covid data and conflicting news reports and promises of better days.
For an entire year, everyone on this small blue planet has been waiting for some good news. We are united in our uncertainty and we share a common sense of loss.
We miss our lives. We miss driving to work, and having lunch with colleagues. We miss live concerts and dancing together in courtyards and fields. We miss holidays and forced family togetherness. We miss crowding around the table and bumping elbows with cousins. We miss our friends. We miss hugs and kissing cheeks and holding babies and holding hands and holding ourselves together with our shared laughter.
We’re still here. And there is a light at the end of this terrible tunnel. We think that someday all of this may become a memory.
But we need to grieve for now. We need to cry. We need to mourn the births that we were unable to celebrate and the deaths that we could not honor. We need to look at each other, every single human one of us, and we need to let out a cry to the universe about all that we won’t ever be able to regain.
We have lost a year. It won’t come back. There will be no second chance to live these months.
We’re coming up on a year.
And I am just so very very sad.