Rest in the Time of Coronavirus (and, um, Brain Cancer)

I was talking with my brother, Paul, sister-in-law Sarah, and David this week, when Sarah and I got to chatting about writing. She’s diligent, writing 500 words every morning at her computer before starting her work day, and it impresses me. (She also walks miles every day, does other exercising every day, cooks elaborate meals every day–meanwhile I sit on the couch to type this in the sweats I’ve been wearing for two days and I’m about to throw some shredded chicken and store-bought enchilada sauce in the oven and call it dinner. I know women aren’t supposed to compare themselves, but…you guys, these sweats are from Old Navy. They’re threadbare at this point. It’s all I’m saying).

My point is, Sarah is hustling. My life is so anti-hustle these days I can’t even rest properly. (Anyone else not able to sleep anymore? I know it’s not just me.)

During our conversation the subject of this blog came up, and Paul thanked me for finally posting something last Friday that wasn’t about the demise of our mother and likewise horribly upsetting. David, meanwhile, admitted he hasn’t even been reading my stuff because it’s been such a drag.

(Sarah, thankfully, turned to me: “You’ve got a funny line in there once in a while! It’s okay!” Guess who’s my favorite relative NOW, boys? Guess who??)

I keep writing here because I don’t want to rest on it, even when what comes out of my brain is more weep-weep and not enough woohoo. You get what you get, dear reader.

We happened to be talking in person this weekend, outside my mom’s house, standing six feet apart in a loose circle on the front lawn and driveway, because Paul and Sarah had flown in from Wisconsin to be with her. David and I took the children and Riley down to see them Saturday afternoon, in the best way we can under the weirdness of now. I know you’re giving us the coronavirus side-eye, but I told you (remember all those sad posts?): Mom is fading. Caregivers have made three 911 calls in two weeks because Mom is just too weak. This was probably the last time she’ll be able to communicate with Paul and Sarah in person. It ain’t good, people. Imagine it’s been snowing out, and we’ve dragged out the sled to our favorite hill, but now that hill is covered with a sheen of sheer ice. We know that hill is icy, but we’re already on it, and there’s nothing to do but take that scary trip all the way to bottom. Do you see what I’m saying?

(You know? I can’t imagine why they all say I’m so depressing lately.)

We hung out for about two hours, staying out of the house as a group, with one of us regulars going to sit for a mom for bits at a time. Thankfully, she took some of that time to nap, which made her caregiver happy. Saoirse remarked (while the little ones played, she hung out on the periphery of the circle, quietly listening to the adult conversation sharing more than her tween ears should probably hear) that it was really nice that we grown-ups were all actually talking. Without a TV or phones out, I suppose, she noticed a difference.

I daresay: we rested.

We waved goodbye and went back home. Sarah cooked dinner at the house for herself, Paul, and my mom, while David and I prepared our own family dinner at our home. We pulled the kids out back for a campfire and roasted s’mores. The children asked when they’d get to see Paul and Sarah again this visit, and were disappointed in the answer that those two hours that day were it. The weather Sunday was rainy and cold, so the five of us stayed indoors, together, relaxing. (I heard that Paul, Sarah, and Mom watched Wine Country.) I wasn’t glued to my phone that day, you guys. I didn’t constantly check it for texts and phone calls about Mom. Frankly, I didn’t know what to do with myself, but I knew Mom was happy, David wasn’t stressed over work, and the kids were content, so I just…sat with my family.

I rested.

(See, David and Paul? That part was kind of happy.)

I’m working on it, kids. Not quite sure when the funny will be back, but I’ll let you know how we end up once this sled hits the bottom of that hill. Thanks for coming along for the ride, happy days or no (and David did say he went back and read the last of these posts, for what it’s worth. I hear there was a funny line or two to be found in them). Meanwhile, Paul and Sarah are masked up and on their way back to Wisconsin as we speak. My phone is back to my side, charged, volume up.

At least these sweats are comfy.

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