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A Way to Cope With The Covid Times
From:
Kathryn Brown Ramsperger -- Author & Intuitive Life Coach(R) Kathryn Brown Ramsperger -- Author & Intuitive Life Coach(R)
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Rockville , MD
Saturday, April 04, 2020

 

Want a way to cope with The Covid times we’re in?

Here’s an idea. Stop expecting so much. Stop trying so hard.

I stepped into the only bathtub our family has right now this morning. I soon realized that there was scum on the bottom, my daughter’s hair on the rim, and a lightning bug perched on the wall. The water was already spraying, and I didn’t want to leave the tub. The tub fills with water even during a shower because we have aging, perpetually clogged pipes in this 55-year-old home. I’ve been trying to find a way to cope with the covid times we’re in since January. And failed.

I felt a pang of remorse that I didn’t get the bathrooms renovated before this virus hit. I knew it had to be done, and instead I traveled to book events. I told myself I had to work, and renovating three bathrooms was another part-time job. Was work truly that important? Standing in that shower, I was regretting every moment not spent cleaning, sanitizing, renovating over the last five years.

I looked forward to my kids going off to university, carving out their own lives. My daughter is still a junior in college, doing home study, while her expensive campus apartment lies dormant in Philadelphia, the city of independence, crime, and now, ringing with an empty silence. My son has a job waiting for him in China that he can’t get to. He got the contract the week the virus became global news.

I reached outside the shower for a tissue to pick up my daughter’s hair. I’d toss it when I got out of the shower. For some reason, I smelled mildew, even though the tub’s supposedly been washed. I inspected the bug,  a sleeping harmless fire fly. I love them. I thought about getting out of the shower to free him to the outside, a place that has become as dangerous to us humans as this shower stall was to him.

Instead, I hurried. I scrubbed my body rapidly, wanting to get the hair, the scum, the bug tended to.  I started to dream up ways to use the second shower even though we’ve caulked it into submission too many times, even though I knew it would leak into the kitchen.

A bucket over the drain? No, what a ridiculous idea.

I told myself to be grateful for our three toilets and four sinks. I told myself to stop being so spoiled about a dirty shower when other people don’t even have a bathroom. We have a big, four-bedroom with master suite second floor. I told myself to stop griping. Instead I envisioned a dream home, with huge bathrooms for each of four of us. Just in case my kids don’t get or keep jobs in this bug gig economy. Just in case the rest of my life will be spent in the same house as my adult kids.

I started to plan my daughter’s 21st birthday, which will be without her friends in mid-April, which I’m sad about, and without 21 shots, which I’m relieved about. I noticed she’d left the cap off of a bottle on the sink. It’s her designated sink, but it still irked me. The ball of emotion that a mother who no one listens to  wrapped around my throat like an anaconda.

I have two 20-somethings in the house who only clean up after themselves if asked. Sometimes not even when they’re asked. It’s one reason I wanted them out, in their own apartments, living their own lives. It’s tough cleaning up after four adults (though my husband does wash the dishes and the laundry) alone in my 60s. I threw my back out mopping this very bathroom floor last weekend.

I reached for the shampoo. It’s got a wonderful lavender scent. I was looking forward to this part of the shower. It would get me out of my negativity and into gratitude.

That’s when I noticed the lightning bug isn’t on the wall any more.

I looked around on every wall of the tiny bathroom. I didn’t have my glasses on, and everything was a blur. I sighed and wondered where it flew, glad it escaped drowning.

I massaged the shampoo into my hair, looking down so it wouldn’t get in my eyes. There was the lightning bug, down in the tub water scum. The shower spray must have hit it, and it was struggling in the water. I reached down and tried to scoop it out. It was struggling for its life. I was frantic. I scooped. I missed. It struggled.

Until it stopped struggling, and the water swallowed it up and it stopped floating on the surface at all. I finished washing the shampoo out of my hair, forgot the conditioner. Tears were already coming.

It was just a lightning bug, I tried to console myself. It didn’t have long to live anyway.

How long do fireflies live? A few days? A week?

But it’s different when you are the one who killed it. I looked the other way for a moment, a second, to take care of my own needs, and it was gone. Thanks to me, my neglect, it won’t spread its light any longer.

The tears were pouring out of my eyes, and little gasps of agony accentuate them. They’re the first tears I’ve shed all year. I’ve been calm during this crisis. I worked for an emergency response organization for two decades. I’ve survived two close calls with death that I know of. I visited the E.R. last year and this year, and lived to tell the tale. I am the one I’ve been waiting for. My elder family members have all passed. My young family members won’t help me clean. How do I, who feels infinitely small in this moment, make them realize the urgency of sanitation?

How do I keep us all alive when I couldn’t, wouldn’t even save a bug?

I could see the bug, sitting there, asleep on my wall. I can’t see that spikes of the virus that didn’t even have a name until 2020. Spikes that pierce the lungs. Spikes that maim or kill us. How can we protect ourselves from something that we can’t see? A bug that’s invisible. A bug that’s not even alive.

I cried til the tears ran dry, and still there is more despair in my body. I knew this was about me, not the lightning bug. No, was about me and the lightning bug.  I also know that I cared about the firefly, about the bat, about other animals in cages or hunted, about the Earth, our Mother, right then, right now, almost as much as I do my children’s lives, my life, my husband’s–in some deep context, that most people wouldn’t understand. Might judge me as an old, overly emotional woman not worthy of a respirator, a woman nearer death than birth. When I still see myself as the kid who spent half a day watching a spider spin a web, who felt every ripple on a pony’s back as I rode, saddle-less, one with it.

I still see myself as a kid.

And that’s when I realized. Yes, I’m grieving. Yes, I’m scared out of my wits. Yes, I want my children to want to clean the house. Yes, I want we humans to love the world, and each other, as much as I do. Yet would I give up my respirator for someone I didn’t know like some Italian elders? There’s some shame that I want to keep living, that I want to see my kids get jobs, marry, have their own children. Learn to pick up after themselves.

I picked up the bug, put it in the tissue with the hair. I thought about throwing it in the trash.

Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.

But instead, I took it outside, in its paper mummy cocoon, and I placed it where I should’ve before I killed it. I said a prayer. For it. For us. For the world.

We are all a breath away from death. Not just today. Or tonight. Not just this month. Not just this spring. Every single moment. Because to live we must be able to breathe. I breathe in. I breathe out. I ask God for help. Being 60 doesn’t exempt you. Being 20 doesn’t either. Bugs and humans, we all die. Yet we breathe. We chop wood. We breathe out. We carry water. It’s the only way.

But for now I’m alive.

A rush of gratitude for my breath, for my life, for my family, and for that little bug who sacrificed its life so I would see the lesson in all of this, flooded me from head to toe. I knew it was noon and my daughter was still asleep. I realized my son was worried because he heard me crying, something I try not to do around him because he’s an empath like me. I saw my husband through the window trying to finish our taxes. And I was so grateful for it all. I am so grateful for it all.

And then I go back in and clean the tub.

Even strong moms, even life coaches, even emergency heroes, need someone to comfort them. If you need to talk now or tomorrow, I’m here for you. Just drop me a message here, and I’ll respond.

 
Author & Coach
Ground One LLC
North Bethesda, MD
301-503-5150