I am sitting here at my computer and I am about to have my first zoom meeting with a therapist. It has taken me over a year to realize that I can no longer go on living my existence. The days are running into each other. So much so that I only know that it is 2021 because I watched the ball drop on New Years Eve.
The wait seems endless for me until I hear the jingling of my computer, alerting me with a message on my computer screen….”connecting”. The therapist is a woman and the fine lines on her face tell me that she is probably closer to my age. She has silver white hair, brown eyes and perfect teeth. I see the background of her home office; one with books aligned on three shelves, her MSW Certification degree (with the year she graduated) and comforted to know that she has many years of experience.
I would not normally need a therapist. After all, I was intelligent and teased by my colleagues thought of me as “The Rock of Gibraltar”. But that was until a year ago, when the whole staff was called into a meeting at Viral Publishing House and were informed that due to a world medical crisis, we would receive our final paychecks with a few months of severance pay.
“Oh well, I thought. I will just retire now, live on Social Security and write a new best selling novel. I felt that the problems of the world would never touch me. I never felt threatened with sickness or my own mortality. I lived alone; separated from my children by thousands of miles and a widow.
That was my mindset a year ago. Now, everything is different, I explained to the therapist. I never wrote that best selling novel, haven’t spoken to my children in months, and miss the one person who helped me become the Rock of Gibraltar, my beloved husband and soul mate.
I went on to explain that one day lead on to another, the days lead to weeks and the months to a year of instagnancy. I now live by a daily schedule; a schedule that never changes. By the way, don’t laugh at my next question, but what is today’s date?
The therapist reminds me that it is March 30th and my mouth opens in awe. It has been almost one full year since the loss of my job and the beginning of retirement. How could that possibly be the right date.
“Why don’t you tell me a little about how you spend your day. It might help. That way you can see where you’ve been and where you are going.
I stop and ponder for a few minutes. I am at a loss for words so I just go through the motion of telling this stranger what I do from day to day. I organize my thoughts and give her a run down of hour by hour. I can only do it in this manner because I used to have a daily calendar which broke down by days by hours, lengthy to do lists and reminders.
My day starts off at 7 a.m. Since I have always had to awaken at such an early hour, I never thought of turning off my alarm clock. Besides my body automatically jolted me awake by that hour.
I take great care in the bathroom, showering, washing my silky gray hair (I stopped dying it when I stopped working….who am I trying to impress any way) and apply three different body lotions. The one thing I am certain of is that my body must be preserved.
By 7:30 am I go directly into the kitchen, make sure that the water tank on my Keurig is filled to the top line, toss my favorite coffee pod into the “well” and press the start button. While I am waiting the minute and a half mug of coffee to be filled, I grab a microwavable breakfast and within two minutes my breakfast is ready to be consumed.
I usually eat my breakfast while watching the morning news. I know each broadcaster as well as I know my family or friends. Of course the news is always the same; it is just a different day. I am reminded at least fifteen times during the broadcast that 355,000 people have died, 2,500 have been admitted to local hospitals and the superspreaders that created these statistics to begin with.
By 9:00 the news is over, and to relieve my stress from the news, turn on a talk show and listen to the commentators review upcoming movies with celebrities, or learn how to bake an apple pie. I can’t bake a cake, but it is a sure way to think that one day I might just try one of those recipes.
By mid morning, after I turn off the TV, I think that this is a good time to sit down and read the book that’s in the same place I left it (on the kitchen table) and make a pact to read at least two chapters. But somehow, I find myself wandering around the apartment, fussing over a wilting plant, or going through the local paper for coupons. I neatly cut the coupons from the pape, organize them by category and put them in my pocketbook, lost with the expired coupons. I don’t always make it to the supermarket to even shop because I can’t get myself out the door early enough to shop with other elderly shoppers (they want to keep us safe from contracting the virus, so we are given the run of the store, before the rest of the population makes it in to do their shopping.
At noon, the television is turned on again, and unless there is some outrageous act of violence, explosion or severe weather events, the same news that I listed to earlier is repeated and again I find myself stressed with the news.
Since my children live in different time zones and I try to call them at least once a day to hear their comforting voices, but they haven’t lost their jobs and not there to pick up my call. So I say to myself, that I will try to call them earlier tomorrow, or later today, which I never get around to doing.
Now comes the time of day (three or four) that I suddenly overcome by the need to take a nap, and to avoid this happening pick up that book I promised myself to read, or write that story that was in my head when I work in the morning and ten minutes later I fall asleep wherever I park myself.
I am usually ready to eat dinner by 6;00 p.m. and I stock my freezer with foods that require no real cooking, or prepare soup, salad and a sandwich. I sit in front of the television while I eat dinner and watch old movies until I fall asleep for the evening.
“I see your dilemma and can assure you that things will get better when the pandemic is over. toBut now we must end our session and we will speak next week.”
My computer screen went blank and that’s when I realized I didn’t know who I was talking to the whole time. The last thought I had before falling asleep that night was tomorrow is another day.
Umm. what day is it?