On the day the world ends
I write this on the day after Ruth Bader Ginsberg died, on Rosh Hashanah, on a day when my social media has been flooded with fear and grief and so, so much poetry.
In times when I'm feeling particularly acutely the fear of what's going on in the world, and need to be reminded that people will, through fire and brimstone, keep moving and loving, I turn back to a combination of Czeslaw Milosz' poetry and Slavenka Drakulic's book How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed. Neither are expressly hopeful, and both can be outright bleak, but they are, at the same time, testaments to perseverance. Sometimes, more than hope, what I need is to believe we won't give up, that we can take turns crumbling and strengthening.
We're not all ok. We won't all be ok. But things keep on kickin' and we're still here for one another.
My partner's company has been pushing them to be back in the office, and without safe childcare options, I'm back in full-time caregiver mode, with only sporadic work here and there. Mostly, I'm fine with it, although I'm sad to be away from the amazing team I've been working with at Fluency. The case numbers keep climbing again, and after August's low numbers it feels crushing to see estimates that we'll be seeing a thousand new cases a day in October. All along I've been low on the optimism spectrum when it comes to Covid, so I expected winter would be a backslide and have long assumed we'd be in some degree of distancing until sometime next year, but I still feel a lot of anxiety about it. And although we can't really compare these numbers to March and April because we're testing so many more people so much more often and getting cases in so many different contexts, it feels really discouraging to be back here again already.
I'm worried about how long it's going to be before I can safely visit my family again, worried about what's going to happen between now and then. The worry about all of it is relentless.
And yet we're still here. Still making pizzas and fingerpainting, still gushing about newly-discovered books and TV shows with friends, still running the vacuum and washing dishes and folding laundry. It's something I've always known, that the world keeps on going even when it feels like it's falling apart, but it's something else to be living it. The days when nothing bad happens are mostly normal, most of the time. The days when something bad happens aren't, but they end. Life doesn't stop; the dogs still need walked, the kids still need fed, the little joys of life still happen. We still laugh until we can't breathe, sometimes. Every day completely incomprehensible and completely normal.
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