"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 in an entirely new, unimaginable surreality in which one of our own is no longer here, with those of us left behind forced to watch as the world continues to spin, being dragged along in its rotation, and trying to go back to doing what now seem like such mundane tasks, as if there hasn't been a monumental shift in our reality, as if the great chasm that seems to have opened up at our feet does not exist... as if there is not a Devin-shaped hole in our world.
I’ve opened every blog post since the beginning of our Covid isolation with the same intro about our “surreal and strange circumstances”. Little did I know. I’ve written about isolation and our world’s shared experience of upheaval “in the time of Covid”, but now I find myself unable to write about anything but this very personal experience. Nothing else seems to exist right now. Of course, in a way, it is also a universal experience because any of us who are fortunate enough to love and to be loved will go through it at some point. It is the price of allowing others into our lives; but frankly, right now, that price seems too horribly steep. I know that will change, but I’m just not there yet.
For those of you who knew Devin, I suppose this will simply be a remembrance and a way for us to share our sorrow. For those who never had the chance to meet her, I am sorry. I wish you could have. She really did make everyone’s life better simply by being in it, and I hope that some of her light will shine on your life through those of us that she has left to continue her work of kindness and generosity. I sincerely hope we can live up to her legacy. The outpouring of love and support we have seen in the past few weeks— a “tsunami of kindness”, I think my brother called it— is simply what she put out into the world coming back to her, through us. She’s gone, and yet she’s not. I am convinced that the Devin-shaped hole I mentioned will allow her to continue to shine through into our world— and in us— because, as Leonard Cohen said, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
I see her face in my mind’s eye so often right now. It is a true testament to her, to the vitality of her spirit, that what I see is not that last image of her in the hospital bed— which I admit I was afraid could overpower my other memories— but so many examples of her laughing, and living, and loving. I see her during our distanced visits over the past six months, standing at the far end of their garage while we chatted from a safe distance, making a funny face in response to Mike saying something goofy and ridiculous. I see her waving from “the Blueberry” (her car) when we would pass each other on the road in the pre-Covid era. I see her setting up goodies on a table at Funspot for one of Bryson’s birthday parties, smiling and laughing and checking with Bill to see if he has gotten enough tokens for everyone. I see her eyes lighting up at the prospect of going out for Chinese food. I see her hanging out at our beach, head thrown back in laughter… and invariably barefoot. I see her at the Cygans’ annual after-Thanskgiving party, rolling the dice in the “Evil Yankee Swap” game. I see her sprawled on our couch, half asleep— barefoot again, of course— patiently waiting for Bill and Mike to finish an intense conversation about football or video games or pop culture or insert-topic-here, so that she can finally take Bill and Bry home and go to bed. I see her proudly watching her son graduate from high school. I see her making a goofy face and sticking her tongue out as Bill tries to snap a photo of her. I see her excitedly telling me about her latest bargain-hunting adventure. I see her sitting across the table from me at a restaurant, next to Bill, watching Jim Tyrrell play a set. I see her with her camera at Christmas, chronicling our joy at being together. But most of all, I see her looking at my brother with such love in her eyes, and I know for certain that knowing her was one of the best things ever to have happened to us. Safe travels, Dev. We love you.