I just read a NYTimes article about “disenfranchised grief”—grief that isn’t acknowledged. There is a lot of it that has built up in many of us who haven’t lost anyone close to us, or lost our jobs, or been evicted. Our losses are “smaller”; e.g., losing time with our grandchildren; missing out on big events like weddings, funerals, graduations; canceling travel plans; or just being unable to be with people face-to-face.
All those little losses add up, though, and need to be acknowledged. We have to give ourselves permission to feel it. It’s common to say, “Other people have it a lot worse than me, so I can’t grieve the small things.” I say it all the time—”I’m lucky because I already worked from home so my job wasn’t affected”; “No one close to me has died, so I’m very fortunate”; etc. I feel sad that we can’t be with our kids and grandkids. It was painful to have to have a memorial service for my brother-in-law, who died from lung cancer, over Zoom—it tore me apart to see my niece sobbing and not be able to hold her. I miss wandering around TJMaxx for a couple of hours.
But I haven’t lost a loved one to COVID. We haven’t been evicted or lost our income. We can afford to put food on the table. So my grief isn’t as important as others’. I don’t have a right to grieve.
Not so! There’s no hierarchy of grief. My grief is just as legitimate as anyone else’s and needs to be honored. How to do that is up to me—I need to find ways to grieve openly that work for me. I’m not good at grief in general, so it won’t be easy. Not that grief ever is.
I was finally able to get a vaccination, after a couple weeks of searching for an available appointment. We had to drive 2 hours to get it, but that was actually a bonus—a road trip after a year cooped up! It was fun. Mike is the one who finally scored me the appointment, with a Twitter alert. When he heard the ping on his phone, he dropped everything and ran to the computer, according to Jesse. I ended up with 2 appointments that day and hung on to both until I was sure the first one was going to happen. Then I canceled it so someone else could get it.
I’m among the first in the US to get the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine. My doc said it’s fine, and it only requires one instead of two, so that’s a big plus. James gets his 2nd one next week, so we’ll be all clear by Easter and can actually travel to Brooklyn to spend it with the Piscitello crew! That’s the best present of all.
Due to the diligent efforts of my son-in-law, I finally have an appointment for a vaccination! We have to drive 2 hours to Worcester to get it, but I’ll do what I have to. It’ll make a nice roadtrip for James and I.
I just canceled all my Tuesday lessons, as well as Weds morning just in case I feel lousy after the shot. I’m getting the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is just one dose, no booster. So as of 2 weeks from Tuesday (time for it to take full effect), I’ll be protected from hospitalization or death.
And since James is getting his booster on 3/24, we might just be able to go to Brooklyn for Easter! All hope is not lost.
The saga of scheduling a vaccination for James has begun. First the website crashed the day his age group (65+) opened up. Since then, he’s tried several times a day to get through all the prompts to the scheduling option only to find that, although there are lots of openings for the first shot, there aren’t any available for the second one. And they won’t let you schedule the first one without the second. He’s talked in person with our local pharmacist, and over the phone with another human being, but still no go.
There’s no waiting list, so he just has to keep calling over and over, hoping to hit the jackpot. We have no idea why second shots aren’t available yet, and why you can’t schedule the first one without the second. I’m guessing they want to keep people from getting one and thinking they don’t need the next. Without the booster, your immunity is only about 50% rather than 95%. So we won’t get this plague under control unless people get both shots.
But the lack of a waiting list is preposterous. The vaccine roll-out is definitely improving now that Biden’s in charge, but it’s still disorganized and nearly impossible to navigate. At this rate, I won’t get mine until June.
We’ve just begun a conversation with Jesse about a way to spend Easter together. She’s already fully vaccinated, and pray to God James will be by then, so we might be able to find a way to do it safely for Mike and I, because it’s not likely we’ll be vaccinated before April 4. I’d be happy to sit in a chilly park 6 feet away from them to be able to celebrate together. I’ll just bundle up.
It’s been a while since I felt motivated to write here. Beginning a new year knowing it will be just like last year for several months or all 12, or even worse given the new strains that are appearing. It made me feel totally exhausted emotionally, so I had no energy to engage with it in writing. But it’s time to get back to reflection.
At least we have a mature adult back in the White House. That lifts a huge weight off my feeling life. It was a horrible trip there, but we made it. Now we wait for the next neo-Nazi attack. I’m sure there will be one.
Louie has come up with a game to play during our zoom get-togethers—he calls it “Chaos”. We set up a whiteboard that we can all draw on, then Louie draws a city and has me draw a house. For some reason I haven’t figured out yet, he draws a fried egg in the middle of the city. Then Gwad starts drawing lines and boxes all over the screen, playing the part of chaos, while Louie erases them as fast as he can. He’s been wanting me to be “on his team” lately—I guess maybe being the house and his teammate makes me a safe place amidst the chaos. And he feels totally safe with Gwad, so it’s a way for Louie to deal with the chaos of his world right now in a safe place. We have a great time playing, lots of laughs, destroying the chaos with fun.
His most telling quotes from yesterday’s game:
“Chaos levels are high today.”
“Fighting chaos has never been easier in my life!”
I’m glad we can make this all a little easier for him. I can’t imagine what his sensitive 7-year-old soul is going to take away from this pandemic time.