When I was young, my parents, my grandmother and my aunt, called me “My Little Worrier”. They called me this for a reason. I worried. I worried all the time. I worried my parents were going to die. I worried one of my siblings was in trouble. I worried about my grades. I worried a tornado was going to hit our house. I worried…well, I worried about everything.
Things changed as I grew older. My built grew bigger. I was not longer “little” nor were my worries. In my twenties, my angst grew and panic attacks started to paralyze me. I sought therapy which helped, until both came back. It wasn’t until later in my thirties was I diagnosed with an anxiety disorder with panic attacks. Along with therapy, I was put on medication which I still take today. And both help, especially the panic, but it doesn’t take away what formed in the root of me – worry.
Peter was Yin to my worried Yang. With each “what if so and so happens”, he would counter with a “what if it doesn’t”. When 9/11 happened, I fixated on planes and crashing and terrorists attack happening in right in our backyard. Peter would calm me with his steady, tranquil voice of reason saying, “we can’t control what happens”. And just like that, with a shrug, he would move on and make sure I moved on with him.
Oh, Peter had his moments. He worried a few times in our 34 years of knowing each other, especially about our kids’ health or emotional well-being. But it always had to be extreme, like a son’s flu which sent him to the hospital, or a daughter’s tears from a relentless bully. And even then, even in those instances, he would not go to the places I went, rather stayed in the moments. In fact, he didn’t go anywhere until something actually showed up and then he would tackle it head on. He was the most serene persons I ever met. For God, the Universe, Fate, to match me, the storm, with him, the calm, was one of the greatest miracles in my life. And then, it all ended. My miracle became my nightmare.
I need him now. I mean, I always need him and want him, and I need him now. With the coronavirus pandemic, I need and want him. I need him to tell me, not that it’ll be okay, because okay is relative, rather to tell me we can’t control any of this. I need him to drag me out of my “what-ifs” with “what-if-not’s”. I want him to say we have no idea how this will turn out so why speculate at all. I want him to show me how to live during this time of extreme anxiety by his examples of carrying on – with walks and projects and small groups. I need and want him to wrap his arms around me, hold me, and not have to say anything. I need and want him to squelch all of my fears. And I can’t have him, now. I can’t have him ever again.
Oh, how lucky people are who have their spouses, their partners, during a time like this! How fortunate for them to be able to wrap up in each other at the end of the day and gain maybe some peace in knowing they are facing this together. How envious I am of couples who have this to share this, perhaps grow from this, perhaps be each other’s calm. And how fucking sad I am, again, to have to face another thing alone, not just for the strength I miss from Peter, but for yet another reminder of why I loved him so deeply, miss him so deeply.
I’ve been hearing Peter in my heart since this all happened. I am trying to use his logic, the logic that centered him. In fact, I found my writing on Facebook the need to keep living through this all instead of being crippled by fear of it all. Those are Peter’s words. And I do believe all of it. I do believe we need to live. I do believe to live in that which we cannot control. Yes, we should do all the necessary precautions, but we can’t control any outcome. And I do know, I have seen it, no matter how much precautions, Death is always going to come. Peter’s absence from me is my constant reminder. And I do get some peace from all of this, but then, other times…
I am not worry about this Corvid19 pandemic for myself. My worries are centered first and foremost on my children. Then on the people I don’t know, and the statistics that keep growing. I worry about how long I have to worry, so I can let my guard down. I worry about the panic it’s causing people to hoard food, toilet paper, hand sanitizer. I worry what if the panic is real. I worry what types of hits the world will be taking through this all, the United States, my state, my dual cities. And I worry about how much I worry.
I know this too will eventually pass. These things kind of things always do. It would be much easier to pass it with Peter. But it’s not the case. And so I worry. And so I repeat words of Peter’s and take deep breaths to calm me down. And sometimes it works. And too many times it doesn’t. Those are the times my parent’s, my aunt’s and my grandmother’s little worrier comes out. I guess I will never out grow her.