Today is my name day—it’s a Slavic-Catholic celebration, like a birthday but you share it with everyone in the world who shares your name. In three days, Sean and I are to mark our 20th wedding anniversary. Then Mother’s Day. My 46th birthday. Cinder’s 18th. All in Quarantine?
I don’t suppose it really matters that much….
When Flora got sick and life stopped, my biggest, most selfish fight and frustration was with time. I had so little time already, you see, I had already given up so much time to children, to motherhood. I was, just, finally, reclaiming some—I did not want to lose another minute, never mind another year, five, ten to this monster disease, I could not afford to, I was running out of time…
So when you tell me, cranky and pouty, that you will never that this time—this spring, this summer—back, I understand. I have lost summers, lost years. I don’t remember much from 2009 and 2010, and the second half of 2013 and all of 2014 are just a soggy blurr.
I understand your frustration, truly. But this time, I don’t share it, and I’m not sure if it’s because I finally have perspective—or I’m mourned out. What is a summer when you’ve been struggling to accept the loss of…
But. I understand it will be hard, and harder for you than for me.
Let me reiterate, again: I am not celebrating this period and all of its “silverlinings” (bar one) can take themselves where the sun don’t shine. I want “normal” back too. I miss my coffee shops, sheesha lounges, the library. And dancing.
But time, time, time… I don’t feel I’m losing time.
And I think it’s because I’m still working. I’m teaching and I’m writing, I’m putting words down on paper, transcribing them into Word and Scrivener, crossing out, deleting, revising. I’m publishing pandemic blog posts and sticking to my modified release/publication schedule, more or less… I’m working, I’ writing, my anchor is intact, and so, time… I am still mistress of this time.
It’s not getting away from me: I’m capturing it on paper.
You are working too. But your work is the things you do to earn money so that you cn do the things that you love, and it is these things that anchor you to life. And you cannot do those things now; your anchors are gone. And so, time is slipping away, lost.
I often envy you your relationship with your work. You are good at it, you enjoy it—or at least, don’t dislike it. But it does not define you. Take it away, and you would still be you—and you’d find some other way to finance your life, your passions, your desires.
I am my work in a way several therapists now have insisted is unhealthy (I’ve fired them all, passionless assholes who don’t understand vocation and artists) and so long as I can work, all is ok, and when I can’t, the world ends.
I am working this spring and summer. I am making words tell stories. I’ll record this quarantine Name Day and the quarantine birthdays. I will tell your story too, so you’ll have some record of your lost summer, so it won’t be a lost summer, a lost year.