Day 87: What does positive mean anyway?
Brian and I live in an end-unit of a condo complex, about a five-minute walk from a nature preserve we’ve come to cherish. [Mount St. John/Bergamo, the central home of the Marianist order of Brothers, who founded the University of Dayton amongst many other ministries. They have an art-gallery and a nature-re-education center, bringing all kinds of gifts to the Dayton area for ecological awareness and resourcing. Selling native plants, for instance]. Our condo has a little over 1500 square feet, across three floors. We’ve been here for nearly 20 years, calling it our little Rivendell. It has 3.5 bathrooms, which is more than enough for just two people. Yet ALL of this space has become necessary, from time to time.
When the pandemic/lock-down happened, spring of 2020, we had just barely enough space. My life of women’s circling was huge, but mostly outside of the home. I didn’t try to include Brian in much of it, letting his church-world be the main ‘world’ in our home. It was just easier for me, if less intimate. The pandemic made that an impossible strategy. My life all of a sudden had to come inside too. Probably saved our marriage.
This past Friday, Brian brought a friend home from Israel: COVID BA.4 (most likely). Six days before we were to drive up to Cleveland for my uncle’s memorial service, and then 2.5 days of a family reunion at Maumee Bay State Lodge, close to Toledo. He asked me to mask when picking him up at the Columbus airport. We got him home to crash, test, (yes, +), rest, recover: he quarantining downstairs in his “mancave,” which he usually retreats to for an uninterrupted nap anyway. I have been social-distancing upstairs in the loft, guest bedroom. He’s been home. I’ve been home. We hardly see one another, particularly since when we do, both of us are N95 masked.
He's had a bad headcold.
All of these precautions are more than necessary for me to attend my uncle’s memorial service and then the family reunion as responsibly as possible. My family lives on both coasts as well as around Cleveland area. Uncles and aunts in their 80’s, cousins mostly in their 50’s. I’ll test on Wednesday morning, then again on Thursday morning, whether I have symptoms or not. (I don’t). Brian will not be coming to either service or reunion, both for reasons of family culture/receptivity post-Covid positivity and because his body is simply exhausted. He’s spent nearly two weeks in purely extroverted, leadership-spaces, alongside two rabbis. (Our joke has become, “Where do the introverted Jews go?” as rabbinic discourse is highly verbal and intense).
And yet the reality of this now is he has a headcold. It’s not even that bad of one. And we live in 1500 square feet, avoiding one another.
Is this positive worth all that, in the end? When will we feel and grieve our pandemic-trauma, allowing what is today to become what it is, not what it was?