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Keeping my sh*t together

Nothing in life has prepared me for this.

These beautiful, sunny, early Spring days have been the hardest ones of my life.

I have felt immense grief. I lost my father a few years after my mother chose that she didn’t want to really be a mother anymore.

I know pain. And resilience in the face of adversity.

But nothing in the past 45 years of ups and downs in my life has prepared me for the daily sadness and anxiety that this global pandemic has introduced.

Today is April 6. The first day of online-supported learning for my kids (and every other kid in Ontario public schools). Which means that it has only been three weeks since they were last in the classroom. Three weeks that have stretched into an eternity as we all stop our lives as much as possible.

“Stay home, unless you really need to go out.”

I have family who work in healthcare. I have family who’s jobs are also essential, so I know that every day they don’t get the option of staying home. I worry for them. I worry for the young man at the grocery store. I worry about the men and women driving truckload of supplies across the continent to keep us all fed.

And I worry about the emotional health of my kids. When I look into the eyes of my 9-year-old, I see a shadow that wasn’t there before, but when I ask him how he is feeling he doesn’t have the words to speak what he is feeling. Our hugs last twice as long as they did a month ago.

I have been in a deep sea of grief for the past two weeks as more people die across the country and the world, as more and more people become ill. To keep afloat, I repeat to myself all that I am grateful for: both my husband and I still have our jobs, we are all healthy, and despite all our enforced time together we continue to enjoy each other’s company. I know that I am lucky. That is what keeps me going.

But there are moments, like right now, when all I want to do is crawl under a blanket and close my eyes. Shut out the world for a few minutes, a few hours. A few days.

I won’t, though. Instead, I will go outside for a few minutes, water the flowers that I planted yesterday, and then return to my laptop to work. Then I will make everyone supper and smile at my kids to keep the despair at bay. Because I must be the strong one. I must be the lighthouse in the darkness for my kids.