I cried because my immediate thought was, “how long before I see my granddaughter again?” That thought was followed by fear over Covid-19 altering my life with my family for more than a few more weeks. Fuck this virus.

So yes. I woke up crying today. The sun had begun to brighten our bedroom, and I could tell it was either get up or fall back asleep, so I crawled out of bed. I made some coffee, frothed the milk and then sat on the couch to watch the sun come up. Then I began to cry.

The feeling of grief surprised and overwhelmed me, and it was all because I read the news. I read an interview with someone from the CDC on NPR who said this would likely be with us for two years. Two years. I wept.

I cried because my immediate thought was, “how long before I see my granddaughter again?” That thought was followed by fear over Covid-19 altering my life with my family for more than a few more weeks. Fuck this virus.

And let’s be honest; I am in the higher risk category. And I am now old enough to understand that I will not live forever. Each day is a treasured gift. But at some point the fear of this virus will be less than my need to see my girls. There are moments when the worry over missing time with my children threatens to overcome me.

I am a pro worrier, sometimes about rather simple things, like my social schedule. Rob and I coordinate our calendars so as to avoid living like two ships passing in the night and so we don’t double book. While my husband doesn’t like having back-to-back social obligations any more than I do, he doesn’t forecast into the future with any sense of concern.

He doesn’t have to; I do that for both of us. There have been months where every weekend but one has been booked. This creates anxiety in my belly; he says, ‘we’ll figure it out,’ but I begin to panic. And worry. I wonder how to say no.

I HATE a calendar that is full. The work I do as a writer and photographer requires empty brain space, and my personality craves downtime or periods where I do not need to interact socially. One or two engagements a week is more than enough, and honestly, I don’t feel obligated to attend any event. My life has taught me that my time here on earth is just as valuable as it is for others.

So every March or so, I begin to worry about our shared schedule for the coming summer. Over the course of our marriage, Rob and I have managed to balance his tendency to say yes to everything with my desire to say no. Sometimes I stay home and he goes. Other times we chat about how we want to spend our spare time; what are our priorities?

But this spring is a totally different animal.

Now I worry about the potential need for more social distancing, the lack of freedom for us to go camping or hiking in the mountains or visit our families. I worry about not having enough opportunity to gather with those I love.

My anxiety has reawakened.

My skill as a worrier has grown.

This is what worry looks like for me:

I have a near constant upset stomach. My brain struggles to focus for more than 30″ at a time on any one project. I need to exercise multiple times a day to keep the jumpy jingles at bay. The nightly glass of wine tends to be closer to two, though beer is now easier to digest. Reading is a challenge and has been since I read Joan Didion on the beach in Mexico (I mean seriously, Joan Didion pulls you in insidiously with every word and before you know it, you can’t put her down).

I have read all the Joan Didion I have dammit.

Sometimes I nap, and this is not like me. There is an undercurrent of anxiety and worry exhausting my body and mind. The only thing that carries me away like Calgon once did is visually stimulating and intellectually arousing television or movies. I can’t do dumb shit or brainless comedy. Purchasing the season of Game of Thrones is likely in my future even though I’ve already seen it.

Worry and anxiety pulls me to the tub. Lavender and Epsom salts. Baths. Every damn day. Sometimes with music, sometimes with a book. In the dark or with candle light. Sometimes I just lie in the water, feeling like I did as a child when my mother used to heat up my pajamas on the furnace before bed. The warmth quiets the worry.

Worry eats away at my ability to remain present. I fight between what is current reality and a pull to fantasy; the one where I just say fuck it and jump on a plane to see my children.

I don’t cry all that much when I am worried because I become so far removed from my body.

So this morning, my tears surprised me.

I let myself cry and I confided my worry to my husband.

He held me and I told him not to worry.

I’ll be fine once I give myself a moment.

I share this post because I think sometimes we try so hard to keep it together that we actually feel worse. We run as fast as we can from our worry and fear. Sometimes we need to just give ourselves a moment; holding things in rarely creates emotional health in my experience. xoxo