Updated: Nov 6
"Coronalone". It's like "Home Alone", but without Macaulay Culkin. And without the burglars (we hope). It's our ridiculous name for the surreal and strange circumstances in which we currently find ourselves.
And we currently find ourselves— well, I currently find myself— questioning how to move forward, how to navigate the “grief waves”, how to write a blog post without feeling like I’m ignoring what has been lost… and how best to help my brother navigate, well, everything that follows the death of a loved one. There’s no road map, of course. Everyone has been so supportive and kind in reminding us that every emotion is valid, and whatever we do is right, and the time line is different for everyone. Those are important things to know, but they’re still not an instruction manual. And let’s face it, I’m a “read the instruction manual” kind of girl. Or, in the absence of an instruction manual, a “write the instructions yourself” kind of girl. So here are the instructions I’ve written for myself, so far:
Be patient with yourself. You are going to make mistakes and get confused and miss things you would normal have under control… and you are gonna hate it, because you pride yourself on having it all under control. It’s a normal reaction to trauma, and you are going to have to cut yourself some slack, whether you like it or not.
Make lists. Make lots of lists. Those things you can normally remember and multi-task? They are not going to stay in your head right now. Also, create and use a system whereby you do not lose said lists. (This will likely turn out to be harder than it sounds. Forgive yourself if things fall through the cracks, and just add them to the next list.)
Drink enough water, and try to eat something. Check in with your brother and Bry to remind them to do the same, if it seems like either one of them is struggling to do so.
This one utilizes a song lyric that a few of you may recognize, but that makes it no less important: “Memo to myself: Do the dumb things I gotta do. (Touch the puppet head.)” This is simply a reminder that there will be some things that can’t be put off, and some of them will feel mundane and ridiculous and unworthy in the face of your grief. Put off the things that can wait, but try to focus what energy you do have on the things that can’t. Also, try to do as many of the dumb, but required things for Bill that you can, to take some things off his plate. It’s full enough with those “grief waves” I was mentioning.
Find some joy, even if it is the tiniest glimmer. Laugh at a joke, even though it doesn’t feel right yet. Be creative. Smile when you think of Devin’s beautiful face. It may be a smile in between tears, but hold onto that glimmer. Remember the joy of knowing her, and slowly try to find joy in other things. Be patient, though. It’s bound to be a long process.
Ask for help. This might be the toughest one of all. It’s not something you are particularly good at, and it does not come naturally. Get over yourself, and let all the wonderful people who love you and have offered to help do whatever they can.
I’m sure there will be many additions to this list over the next weeks, and maybe even months. Perhaps I’ll revisit it at some point in a blog post, but for now this will have to do. If anyone has any suggestions, all help is gratefully received.
Take care of yourselves, tell the people you love what they mean to you, and treasure every moment. (Hey… I think I just wrote three more rules!) I love you all.