It look me longer than usual to get into the saddle for 2020, by early March I’d finally slid and found my rhythm…and then a week later the entire world was flipped upside down and, my just-learning-to-relax life was jolted out of the saddle. I’m still getting dragged along the unforgiving ground, my foot tangled in the stirrup, my arms flailing around – trying to find something sure and safe to grab onto.
On the Monday my husband and I both ran a successful business and by the Friday we were both working in a call centre….ironically answering calls on the Coronavirus information line. We’re both deeply thankful for such a quick transition in income streams but it’s also been difficult to manage a new life amongst the ruins of our old one.
I remember, when I was five or six years old, I buried a peach stone in our front yard, next to the tree I played in. I checked it regularly and watched, day by day, as it’s little green shoot struggle through the earth. I remember telling my dad, ‘don’t mow over my tree’ – I probably pointed vaguely towards the place it was planted. My dad, of course, forgot and mowed straight over my little seedling – it was ok through – it was ok. I build a ‘fence’ around the struggling shoot using twigs and stones – it was a small shoot which was protected by a small fence. I told my dad ‘don’t mow over my tree’ – and again, probably days or weeks later, the mower glided over my little fortress, destroying everything including my little peach tree in-progress.
I felt devastated – I’d tried so hard to protect my project, but it had been unsuccessful.
That’s how I felt this past couple of weeks – my little insignificant life, with the little rituals, catch up’s with friends, our home business and my sense of security were all crushed by a lawn mower – their loss didn’t even register. My grief is just another drop in an ocean of so many little losses – the kind you can’t talk about when people are dying, or countries are in crisis.
Like when a pet dies or a relationship ends before it even started – unseen losses, unrecognised, unregistered.
My external world isn’t looking too bad, I’m working full time at the call centre and finding my stride in this new world we’ve all been tipped into – but inside it feels like my heart has been ransacked. I’m not ok – we’re all not ok.
Mostly I think I’m still in shock – all the little freedoms I’ve been both grateful and happily taken for granted are now gone. The slow wander through Kmart late at night, the gathering of friends at a restaurant, the spontaneous coffee that turns into lunch at a cafe, the last minute decision to go to the movies and slipping into the cinema just as the previews end, driving up the coast to see family, the sense of being able to hop on a plane and just go – the dance floor at a wedding. Within days these things went from being my life to something I was actively avoiding…and now something we’re not permitted to do.
I think there’s a lot of loss in that. A lot of big swirling emotions that I’m scared to acknowledge because compared to so many people we’re really, really lucky and we need to be thankful…but maybe there’s room for grief within gratitude.
My hands feel full and empty at the same time.
I feel like I’ve lost everything, but I still have the things that matter most.
I want to untangle my foot from the stirrup and let my body fall into the dust – let the horse bolt away and rest in the stillness that I’m finally lost and finally found.