It's been a rough, rough two years. I lost my dad just before COVID crept over to the U.S. I lost my friend Michael shortly thereafter. I lost Tim from glioblastoma. And then I lost Ray, or Raney as I called him, who had so kindly attended my dad's funeral. My favorite boss left our workplace, several favorite coworkers quit. I've spent a lot of time distracted by work grief, and I lost sight of real grief, actual grief. When it showed up, I was caught up short, as if I had a play to perform without having attended a single rehearsal. My arms hung heavily at my side. My mouth was dry a lot. I withdrew from people. I had trouble reading and even more trouble writing. I didn't talk about it a lot. I'm clawing out from under it now, but it was heavy and dark, and stalked me late at night, making me anxious about my existing loved ones, worrying about who would be stolen from me next. When COVID vaccines first became available, I nosed my way in, getting my family and anyone I loved vaccinated before mid-April by setting up appointments for leftover vaccinations in the evenings. I wrote something recently about how everywhere you look, something is disappearing.
Now that my work grief is healing, I can look back on all these personal moments of grief and try to make sense of them. I am finding my way back to writing again after a long hiatus and withdrawal. I'm finding solace in painting. I'm coming out of it, but if we've learned nothing else, we've learned how fragile everything is right now.