We ran away from home today, but not in a dramatic sort of bad way. 2020 has not been a kind year to any of us, and we decided that we needed a change of scenery for a few days to celebrate Dan surviving his awful stay in UAB’s COVID Ward. I thought that I was going to lose this wonderful man, but I didn’t. Every day is precious. We’ve always known that, but now we feel it viscerally. Our love is a priority, and we needed a break from routine to continue the healing process.
Dan and I are such creatures of habit; when we are home, we are working. Working on the house, the yard, my school work, practicing, planning for his yoga classes, me teaching clarinet lessons…it is a wonderful and busy life, but we so rarely just stop and enjoying being (though we make it look like we do from our date night photos posted on social media…they are brief moments of stillness after we’ve worked our tails off all day long.
We are hurting, inside and out. Dan is dealing with PTSD from his awful hospital experience, and I am sure that I am, too. Dan is awaiting more testing, and we’ve read more and more research that COVID has had psychological effects on many people. I am on a stress hair trigger- it takes almost nothing to throw me into either tears or a panic attack. I am also still dealing with injuries from my bicycle accident last week; we were followed out of town by calls from the UAB Breast Health Clinic. They think I have a hematoma in my right breast after being impaled by the flashlight on my handlebars in my fall. The bruising is awful, as is the pain, and I have a painful lump that is growing. They have me scheduled for a mammogram and ultrasound a few days after we get home from this trip. This year just continues to be the gift that keeps on giving.
All of these things have been challenging enough, but add to them a global pandemic, tragic racial strife, awful politics, and other sad world events…it is just so much to process and deal with for all of us. Just getting out of town was stressful; we worked for weeks to get the house and yard in great shape (we both have issues leaving if things aren’t ‘perfect’). I had my usual lists and began packing two weeks prior…Dan did his usual frantic night before preparations. We checked and re-checked, making sure everything was set for the house sitters and Shiva.
Home is such an oasis for us…except that we can’t seem to just rest and enjoy it. We always have to be working on improving it; a fatal flaw for both Dan and I. I love that we share that passion for ‘work hard/play hard’…but we work too hard and don’t play nearly enough. It’s time for a shift in that paradigm.
And so we are here at Seagrove Beach on the Florida Panhandle. We brought Marley with us and are staying in a rustic beach cottage on stilts just across the street from the ocean. We are being careful, wearing masks when around people and keeping our distance. We were dismayed to see the area called Thirty-A is packed with people, with only a tiny percentage wearing masks or making any pretense at social distancing. That just means we will enjoy a lot of quiet time in the cottage with each other and with Marley, and that’s okay.
Today was stressful and a hurricane is possibly headed our way. Everything is different from our past visits to this area and we feel off kilter. No matter; we are here, together, and determined to wring all of the positives that we can from these short few days. Perhaps this trip won’t heal us, but it sure might help us to begin the process. If so, it was worth every bit of trouble. The ocean is permanence: as Dan says, “People hop on and off this world all the time, but the ocean is always here.”
I am looking forward to thinking about and writing about progress this week. Healing for all of us will take time. We are taking baby steps in the sugary white sand of Seagrove Beach.