Quarantine as Matthew’s Mom
Here we are in this strange new normal. The entire world has been thrown into a time of social distancing and self-quarantine. Lives have been turned upside-down, businesses and schools have closed and we are spending more time at home than ever. For the strongest of us, it has been an adjustment, but for me, it has caused a unique struggle. March 23rd marked 5years without our sweet Matthew. It is a milestone that we had been dreading for some time. The longer it is without him, the more my husband and I are reminded that the world has continued to move on without him. The fear that our sweet boy will be forgotten is real and strong and it crushes us. While we think about him every moment of everyday, we are aware that others have lives of heir own and they move on as they are meant too.
So, every year around this time, I do my very best to stay busy and moving, to keep the time filled so it will pass quickly. Over the past year, I have been lucky enough to have found my place as a yoga teacher at a studio that I love, and the year before that, I was knee deep in teacher training. I have been able to dive into that during the extra hard times like holidays when we tend to miss him a little extra. This year, we had a planned trip to Maui in the beginning of April. The perfect way to pick ourselves back up after the Christmas, birthday, anniversary trifecta of grief. But, the pandemic his our planet and plans quickly had to change. Instead of taking the emotional break with a vacation or even throwing myself into work at the studio to find some sort of normal routine, we are here at home practicing social distancing. While mothers all over the country are homeschooling their kids and struggling to educate and entertain them for the entire day, I am watching it, listening to it and reading posts about it. Seeing families spending more time together, while I am wishing more than anything that I had those homeschool struggles and wondering what kind of things Matthew would be wanting to do. Would he love all of the time at home or would he be whiney and wanting to see his friends and teachers. What I would give to snuggle on the couch and watch the Disney Channel.
For the first 2 weeks, like everyone else, I hunkered down and filled the time by cleaning, doing projects at home (I was able to turn one of the rooms in our house into a yoga studio), doing puzzles, making candles, taking walks, and of course doing a lot of yoga practicing, studying and writing classes and meditations. But after 2 weeks, the reality of the situation has set in, the novelty has worn off and I am left with countless hours to fill. I love our house. At any other time, I love to be here, but now, it seems empty. I love knowing that Nina is here (much to her dismay), right where she should be in the uncertainty, but what I wouldn’t give to hear the 2 of them arguing about something stupid like what is on TV or who is being too loud.
I know that I am not alone, but at times, it really feels that way. My friends would listen, but could never understand, my husband is able to continue to throw himself into work (which we are both grateful for) and Nina is taking her classes on the computer and doing her best to stay connected to her friends online at all hours of the day and night (the life of a college student). And I continue to try to fill the time and follow my dharma. I look for things that I am grateful for like my family, my friends, a job that I love, my beautiful house and knowing that we are safe and healthy.
I am inviting you to remember, while you are home and safe with your family, if you know anyone that has suffered a loss, this can be a very difficult time. Maybe we can all be a little kinder and a little gentler with those that we do come in contact with. You never know what people are struggling with behind their closed doors. And, while you are home with your family, even though the closeness might feel like a lot sometimes, be grateful for the time you have and give your kids some extra squeezes (even if they don’t want them). I bet that you will be glad that you did!