June 12th, 2021
“If you have been brutally broken, but still have the courage to be gentle to other living beings, then you’re a badass with the heart of an angel.”
― Keanu Reeves
I was outside of the house a few minutes ago, cleaning up tiny shards of glass from the ground in the space just below the window sill of a rear bedroom. The slivers of glass have been lying there since the end of January. They were pieces from a storm window that somebody smashed in order to get away from the police. The story behind the breaking of the window is rather long and ugly, and it will not be told here.
It’s June now, and it seems like I took a long time to clean up the broken glass. There are some things that I tend to avoid. Anything that brings back bad memories is radioactive to me. It takes a while for me to revisit places that freak me out, even if they are on my own property.
It feels like I spend a great deal of time picking up pieces, some of them physical and some of them emotional. Most of the pieces are from broken relationships. The pandemic shattered many of my connections with other people, a few of them permanently. Being the full time caregiver for little Asher has also made it difficult to maintain links with friends and family. The baby boy keeps Karin and myself rather busy.
Over the last fifteen months or so, my life has changed radically. So has Karin’s. Actually, everybody’s lives have changed radically. Nobody has been exempt. I somehow had hoped that, once the COVID coma ended, I would be able to start my life again where I had left off. That turns out to be a fantasy. There is no going back. There is no way to un-ring that bell.
The Buddhists have a good handle on this kind of situation. They put a huge emphasis on the transient nature of all things. They say that nothing is permanent. Everything comes and goes. Their advice is not to attach to anything at all; enjoy the experience and then let it go.
This is easier said than done. Friends have died during the last year, and I never got to say goodbye to them. Jim was in hospice for COPD. The best I could do was to write him snail mail letters. Cancer killed Andrea. Over the last year all we were able to do was exchange emails. It’s hard to let go when there is no closure.
I don’t want to sound too negative. Many things have changed, but not necessarily in a bad way. Having a six month old boy in our lives has been a blessing. It’s true that I can’t travel now, and that I can’t meet people like I used to do. However, it’s a joy and a wonder to watch Asher learn something new every single day. To hold him in my arms while he sleeps is a gift beyond compare. Life isn’t better or worse, just different.
My life before COVID/Asher is gone. That is just a fact. I may be able to reconnect with some people some of the time. Some of them will have changed in unexpected ways. Some of them I will only remember.
I’ll try to pick up the pieces.