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The Hell Just Happened


There will be events in your life that are so monumental they become impossible to write about.  It becomes part of the cultural background,the lighting. “What’s water,” said the young fish to the older fish.  You can’t describe it any more than you can describe the sensation of the Earth turning.

In speaking to my daughter about this, recently, I asked her how her generation “saw things.”  They know they were robbed of a lot. They know their health,  mental and physical, was affected.  They know they are behind academically. They know all this.

“I don’t know,” she said.  You don’t know? “Nobody wants to talk about it.  They just don’t want to talk about it.  And more than that, a lot of them don’t remember.”

They don’t. Remember.

And this was important to me because I understood immediately that she was describing trauma: long, durable trauma, the scabbed-over kind that starts in a winter in February and ends in a (when does it end?) July summer because you have to Just Decide that it’s over.  But I recognized it, even though Covid never ended–I tested positive a few nights ago, still positive as I sit down to write this.  Like trauma, we just live with it now.

“I don’t remember the year after I divorced your mother,” I thought.

Your brain hardens over the trauma.  You put one year in front of the other foot I meant to say foot and you just keep going, because that’s what everyone needs, because that’s what you need, and this can be worked out with therapy, at the gym.  But of course it never is, because everyone is going through it and when it is over there is nothing to talk about, no one wants to talk about it, and no one can anyway remember.

I am not ready to talk about Covid yet, any more than I was ready to talk about 9-11.  It’s not raw or emotional, it’s just too big!  It impacts everything about my life, right now, from the room where I’m writing this to the job that pays to keep the lights on.  And it also maps a wide terrain, at least 2-3 years.  But a time will come when I’m ready to talk about the pandemic, and so I’m writing this speaking to that person, the way I wish I had kept a journal after 9-11 to talk through the initial feelings and disorientation.  Indeed, I did keep a journal that year, and it dropped off suddenly, as if the thunder that was the world had made creativity go silent.

So this will be a long time coming, and due to the blog format, I’m not going to be able to dump it all at once, but I am invoking it.  Covid killed this blog, and I am bringing it back.  Do I have anything special to add to the Covid conversation?  Probably not.  But I don’t want to forget the details, so I’ll put some here.

We are going to remember, together.

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