I stare down at the glow of the screen of my SE, Evernote open with the date typed into the title. Just the date. I’ve been told I’m a good titler. Yeah, lots of years of practice. But today I’m at a loss. How on earth does one sum up the aching heart that comes from a child that’s hurting who you can’t help.
My Z called me late last night. Late like 1am. She’s crying and needs to talk. Again. She’s depressed, and feeling lost and alone. She’s burdened by the isolation she’s been in, for a lot longer than this pandemic and it’s getting worse. One by one her lifelines have been cut.
Her HS friends broke her heart by abandoning her. Throwing away her friendship like it meant nothing. And she does not have many friends and is so shy she doesn’t make new friends easily. She literally has no one her age to talk to, to laugh with, to love.
With the lack of school friends, she turned to the internet and found a few kindred spirits there. Believe me, as a parent I’m leery of this, but I’ve been watching and know for a fact these girls are legit. I also know she needed these people. People need people.
Her best friend is Alex who lives in California. The other two are in North Carolina and Australia. Yeah, that’s the power of the internet. But the two edges of that sword are that it is easy to communicate but also easy to stop. Alex was her lifeline when her best friend in real life dumped her. Z was devastated and Alex was there, all night long and in the weeks to follow, keeping her company. Day and night.
Now Alex is starting to become unavailable. Being unresponsive on discord and there’s no explanation.
We moved Z into the dorm at UNL in August and found pretty quickly that she was better off here. She’s been coming home every Friday and staying through Tuesday or Wednesday the following week. She does all her coursework online and has a rare in-person interaction for her classes.
The isolation there is worse. There are no clubs or activities (far as I’m aware) and no meetups in the dorms. It’s all shut down because of the pandemic, There are literally no opportunities there to meet people. And not a lot here at home either.
It’s heartbreaking to hear her cry at 1am (she spent the night at her dads house) and know I can’t comfort her outside of being there to listen. I told her she can come home today. We can spend some more time together, and then I pulled up a blanket in the recliner I had snuck off to to take her call, and we talked for an hour.
I let her know I was here for her and listening. And lamented with her about how this pandemic has just fucked everything up. All our plans. Our vacations and graduations and her freshman year.
And as if that was not enough, she also drops a bomb.. her dads parents, her grandparents have the virus. This is devastating news. They are already high risk because of their age (in their 70s) but it’s worse because they are also both diabetic and her grandpa has a long history with heart disease.
She said her dad told them at dinner and that they were not doing well. They are apparently still at home, resisting going to get help. Not sure why that would be. If it’s true (which is a terrible thing for me to say) this could be the event that breaks both of my children.
Hell, it just might break me too. They were my mom and dad for 18 years of my life. That whole family was a sacrifice I had to make to get out of a bad situation. But now is not the time for that. Now is a time I need to be strong for my children. At the very least be there for them if bad turns into worse.
I just texted my ex. And I’m just walking and crying. How on earth can we get through this? The Universe help me. I’m feeling pretty lost too.
I’m just tired, you know, of trying to smooth everything over and keep on being reliable and responsible. Thank goodness that I am done working or I might just go seriously off the rails. But I gotta keep it together for Z and C and Jim. Just put all my energy into them and myself. You know, secure your own oxygen mask first.
I took Z to vote yesterday and to renew her drivers license. My main motivation for voting early, besides avoiding the crowds on November 2nd, was so I could maybe drive to Austin for Election Day. Another getaway for my sanity I suppose. And because I miss my people. Now Z and I are conspiring to go together. Which I believe she needs as much as I do.
But we’ll be in a holding pattern until we know her grandparents are going to be ok. Which they might not be and I would not want us to be 1000 miles away when bad news falls.
It’s like 2 hours later. I had to take a call from my ex which turned into a long conversation. About Z and C and his parents. It was an ok chat, which is the best I can hope for with that one. He thinks Z needs to see a counselor and or be on meds for depression. Maybe.
What she needs first is a job and some activities and people to keep her busy. I mean, what she really needs is for the pandemic to end but it’s a waste to wish for that kind of change in the world.
Her grandma is doing ok. She’s a tough woman and a fighter. And her grandpa is a fighter too, but he’s been fighting diabetes for 60 years and CHF for over ten. And that’s not good.
My ex tells me they were told not to come to the hospital unless they could not breathe. There are no ICU beds. Beds and vents are in short supply. They are in Iowa, across the river. But I hear that’s happening here in Omaha too.
They think they picked up the virus at a funeral. For someone who died from Covid. And someone at the funeral was positive. Now a bunch of the family has it. Aunts, uncles. My ex did not go because he was feeling ill himself that day and felt it would be irresponsible to go. The most reasonable thing I’ve heard him say in a long time.
He thought about not telling the kids. But decided that if the outcome is not good, they would be really mad if he had not told them sooner. That was another good call. People need time to process information.
I need time too.
Anyway. I’m just worn thin and wonder how today will play out and tomorrow.
And the day after that.
Maybe I need a counselor too.
I guess that’s enough doom and gloom for one day.
Taking it one damn minute at a time,