I didn’t cry when reports of sickness across the world began filtering in. We will help them out of their crisis, I thought. We live in a rich and powerful nation; it won’t come here.
I didn’t cry when I heard that the numbers in Europe were climbing because surely, we would figure out how to protect ourselves.
I didn’t cry when a long awaited and much anticipated family trip was cancelled. Surely, a cancelled vacation is not a thing an adult cries about. There will be other vacations.
I didn’t cry when literally everything was cancelled, fun things and not so fun things. As an extroverted introvert, some additional time at home didn’t sound half bad.
I didn’t cry when my husband passed out and the paramedics we summoned came suited up in Hazmat outfits, apologized for having to distance themselves, and suggested that he stay home unless things were really dire.
I didn’t cry when the market crashed, and we watched our savings circle around the drain. We aren’t that young, but we can rebuild. The market will rebound. It’s only money.
I didn’t cry when they cancelled my son’s graduate school graduation. We were so looking forwarded to celebrating the culmination of many years of hard work, but isn’t this where resilience is born?
I didn’t cry when they began to question whether schools would even start back up in the Fall. If they do, they do. If not, not. We’ll figure it out.
I didn’t cry when a trip to the grocery store played out like a scene from The Hunger Games. And we got home and wiped our wipes with other wipes, in a full-out, sweaty panic.
I didn’t cry when I told my elderly mother that she had to stay put. I couldn’t see her-she had to live to fight another day-alone. No mom, we can’t be together, not even for the holidays.
I didn’t cry when bar mitzvahs and weddings became Zoom events. There will be small private services now and parties later when it’s safe to congregate. It will have to do.
I didn’t cry when a I spoke to my friend the doctor who said it’s so bad, it’s worse than anything you can imagine.
I finally cried
But this afternoon a long-awaited Instacart order arrived and they forgot or couldn’t find or just decided not to bring the shredded cheese, the damn cheese I was planning on eating for lunch.
And then I started to weep, ugly heaving sobs; tears for the milestone events we are missing, for the health care workers who will be forever changed by what they are seeing, for the high school and college seniors who will not graduate, for the elderly whose isolation is potently destructive.
I cried for the teachers with empty classrooms, for the people who were already living hand to mouth, for the small businesses that will be ruined, for the sick and dying, for the hugs we can’t give each other, for the funerals we can’t attend.
And my weeping was the kind of weeping that comes from the very bottom of a person’s soul. The kind that goes on and on, the kind that once begun is almost impossible to stop. And I wept a deep cleansing, bucket-load of tears; tears for everyone and every one of our losses.
And then I dried my tears, threw in a laundry and began to prepare dinner.
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The author of this post wishes to remain anonymous.