A tough couple of days. Weeks… Months…
So – since our “vacation” to Mexico – I’ve been in a serious slump. Like seriously depressed. The vacation was supposed to be a reprieve from the everyday that was already dragging me down. Our trip was supposed to rejuvenate me and give me the energy that I needed in order to make it through whatever is next. My pandemic experience started with my taking a much-needed mental health medical leave. Problem was that my leave started on March 3rd. By March 14th, everyone came home because of the pandemic. Not to say that invalidated the leave. But the experience was… marginalized for sure. Having the whole family home all day and having to be present for them 24/7 versus having the time to myself to re-center and be prepared for the world that depends on me. Then on April 19th having to reenter the workforce remotely. The remote part helped A LOT with the toxicity that I was experiencing daily but somehow that workspace found a way to transmit the negativity through the provided channels quite well. I deflected as much as I could, trying to place the workplace into a silo by getting a separate work phone and turning that off at a certain point in the day so that I could reclaim my sanity every day.
So the vacation was subpar… the service was terrible. The resort seemed to be optimized to serving couples, not families. And I know I’m not isolated in that thought because my cousin Ollie also noted a deep deficit in the way they were servicing us. I even experienced a concierge expressing to me that the reason we were getting “less than” service is that we didn’t book directly with them. And I asked him if they got our money? Because irrespective of where we booked, SOMEONE took a large lump sum of money from me in order to try to ensure that our experience would be no less than paradise. Which it wasn’t. Coming back from that deeply flawed vacation that I worked tirelessly for 30+ weeks on my peloton and attempted to lose enough weight to be sexy enough to post a single pic (which didn’t happen) – I was plopped back into this life that offers me nothing in the way of fulfillment or pleasure. I stopped working out or taking my supplements because “why bother?” It hasn’t yielded a single good thing…
The whole while I’m in an interview cycle for a company I’d LOVE to work with. Not necessarily a “dream job” but a departure from working for a company I don’t believe in that doesn’t give me any energy in return for what I give it. PRAYING that this was my retribution. My resolve. My salvation. After 9 weeks of back and forth with them, interviewing, doing assignments, preening and primping for them, interviewing with the CEO no less they inform me that they’re going back to the drawing board about the position to determine what they really want. So disheartening. So discouraging. I believed I was so close to being free… But no.
At the same time, I got core rocking information. Kadija Ny’omi Williams – the woman that had put me under her wing… believed in my ability when really, she didn’t have to… my mentor… my prophyte… my friend… had gone on to become an ancestor. An aggressively moving cancer had claimed her 3 weeks from diagnosis. While I’m so glad she didn’t suffer… I’m DEVASTATED by the loss of her spirit in this world. Her funeral was lovely. She was loved by so many. She led with grace all her life. She was deserving of every single accolade. And I’m heartbroken by her sudden departure. I haven’t felt this broken since Kevin passed… I’m simply beside myself with grief. I can’t even dwell on this because the heartbreak is so profound… I won’t get to the end of this narrative if I stop here.
Trying to establish some normalcy I got into my family life and set a few appointments for my nuclear to get our eyes tested in advance of the school year. Not 1000% sure if we’d open up all the way or not, I figured Athena needed new glasses, I hadn’t been seen at the optometrist for 2 years and E had been complaining about a decline in his 20/20 vision. So I additionally took a few days off from that toxic place so I could focus solely on my family. Thinking we MIGHT be able to steal away for a few days, maybe to an AirBNB in the woods that had a pool so my little one could swim about and feel something different, I got E to be convinced that he’d work remotely from wherever we went. Time drew nigh for us to lock something down and I missed the window… knowing we had to come back by Sunday in order to attend Soleil’s 1st birthday party shortened our window. Then work started to seep through the seams of my time off with random bullshit that I couldn’t avoid. Time away would not be possible.
On the morning of our eye doctor’s appointments, I was working as I normally do to rally everyone together to get ready for the trek out so we could be on time. Athena was getting dressed and I believed Earl to be doing the same. Sitting at my computer around 11:25 I heard a faint voice coming from the living room. Not fully sure of what was being said I called out, “Earl?” and I heard a response but it was barely discernable. I walked to the living room to find Earl at the french door entrance to our living room, hunched over, holding on to the door and complaining that the house was shaking. I reassured him several times that it wasn’t the case. All was steady. He stated that someone was trying to grab him and pull him to the right. And I assured him that no one was there but me. Through a 1/2 hour’s worth of cajoling and convincing I finally get him to the bed and get in contact with his mother who was at the laundromat. In my thoughts, I’m deeply concerned that he’s had some kind of neurological event… a stroke… TIA… something… I contact our good friend Nana Yaw who walks me through the basics of trying to provide him palliative care through the next few hours. Take BP and glucose readings regularly, make sure he’s comfortable. The next four hours are our barometer. He lays down but he’s not fully at ease. His mom comes up and he is able to calm himself. He gets to a point where he’s able to get up, use the bathroom, take a shower, and sit at his computer for a good long time. At a certain point, he complains of leg weakness and seeks out our bed. Unusual for him – he’s only ever in our bed when it is time to sleep so he must really need to layout and be asleep. He lays down for deep sleep – complete with snoring and moaning. His mom comes up to check on him and is taken aback at how deeply he is sleeping. She remarks it as restorative sleep and ensures me that if I need anything she’s right downstairs.
I start to go back and forth in my mind that this is a pivotal time. The decisions made in the next few hours could shift history. It could be a stroke / TIA event and if he goes to sleep tonight, he may or may not wake up. We could go to the hospital and spend all night there and try to get a sense of what is happening despite Nana Yaw’s detailed diagnosis. What I didn’t want to do was be at a point a few weeks from now saying, “If only I’d have taken him to the ER he might still be ___________”. Functional. Alive. Healthy. Whatever. I, spurred by Nana Yaw’s encouragement to take hold of a situation that WASN’T an emergency along with Earl’s PCP’s reaction to get to an emergency room to access imaging ( ct scan ) got me to convince Earl that we needed to take advantage of the night and get to an er.
After ordering some dinner, because he’d gotten his appetite back, he showered, Athena showered, we delivered her down to Gramma and Earl and I loaded into the car to head to King’s county that boasted of their advanced Stroke technology and care. We got there at about 11:14 PM. Found parking up the block from the hospital and walked into the ER. He and I sat there quietly after check in and they called him into triage. While he was in there, I felt a tickle in my throat. I needed to cough. But coughing in this new climate is NOT well received. So I took a moment to go out to the area directly outside of the ER and cough a clearing cough so that I could get it out of my system and not scare anyone in my direct vicinity. I came back in, the clerk at the information desk said, “Hi…” and I responded in kind – sure that they’d all seen me before. I sat down in the chair I’d previously occupied and slumped down waiting for E to either come back out or for me to be called in to wait with him. After about 5 minutes, a security guard who OBVIOUSLY needed a refresher on how a mask works best if it’s OVER your nose comes to me and informs me that “you can’t be here”. I ask him where I can wait and he essentially tells me that he doesn’t care as long as it’s not in there. I exit the ER waiting room and initiate a conversation with Domi that lasts the duration of my tenure there at King’s County – THANK GOD FOR REAL FAMILY. I eventually get back to my car, drive to get gas and find parking directly in front of the hospital. While waiting and chatting with my brother trying to get a sense of what was happening with Earl, I hear and feel a severe tug on my car door handle. I turn to see a man looking bewildered about why the handle didn’t work as I SCREAMED a stream of obscenities at him through my rolled-up window. He takes a few steps back into oncoming traffic then stumbles to the car ahead of me and proceeds to pass out on his back on the sidewalk. All I could see from my vantage point was his hand. But I was pretty shaken up by it all. A few more hours go by and Earl announces that the ER Dr did a physical with him (no imaging) and determined that he was dealing with vertigo and he needed to follow up with his PCP. Vertigo by all accounts is NOT that serious if you’re not operating heavy machinery or driving. We get him home, we get him settled and the next day begins.
Happening in the background is that our cousin-in-love, Jessica, who works for the TSA, stops by us briefly the preceding Sunday. She won’t come near us and she has her mask up indicating that she’s not feeling well. So we all take our distance seriously. She does NOT stay long and she has her mask on the whole time. Monday morning I text her to see how she’s doing and she states that she’s going to go get tested for COVID. For whatever reason and notwithstanding the entire COVID-19 narrative, she’s NOT been vaccinated. In a household RIPE with people at risk (old, sickly, young that couldn’t get the vaccine), she didn’t think this was a thing she needed to do. Ah… youth. On Wednesday when I woke up I checked on her to see how she was feeling as she’d reported a 102.9 fever the day before. Her results had come back positive for covid. My family and I immediately got scheduled for same-day testing so we could be in the clear… ultimately she lives in the basement two floors down and rarely comes up to us and we’d not seen her for a MINUTE prior to that Sunday. I was supposed to have met up with my Nininne who was in town for a few weeks visiting with family. I needed to delay this until I could get a negative reading, confident that it would come back as such because of our limited interaction with her.
The results came back negative and Saturday morning I contacted my Godmother with the news. Anxious to see her because I knew she was leaving on Sunday, she told me to come on by. She informed me that her niece (whose house she was staying at) was celebrating her birthday and that her festivities would start about 3:00PM. I told her I’d come by in advance of that because I didn’t want to interrupt what Farrah was doing. I simply wanted to see my Nininne before she left. Tapping into my home training, I knew better than to show up empty-handed. It was the woman’s birthday after all – even if she and I didn’t get along famously. I went up the block and purchased a bouquet of roses for her birthday and then across the street to my fave winery to pick up some celebratory champagne to gift to her. As I was exiting the establishment and back to my car full of my family I get a call from my Nininne, “Where are you?” I tell her we’re on our way. She informs me, as if I’m unaware, that it’s possible that I tested negative today, I could test positive tomorrow… But knowing the kind of interaction that I had with Jessica, I knew that wasn’t possible. She and my family had simply NOT cross-pollinated to that extent. As I’m talking to her I hear Farah in the background, “I don’t want her in my house. Y’all can stay outside. The gazebo is nice and clean. They can stay out there, but she can’t come in here….” And never once did my godmother back her down or try to defend me. She’d been staying with them all this time. She may not have felt empowered enough. Maybe she was just as scared. I reassured her that we’d stay outside. But my family looked at me like I was CRAZY that we’d even go there still being pre-emptively treated like lepers. Driving down Linden Blvd, replaying the conversation in my head. Having already spent $100+ dollars on this woman that I’ve NEVER gotten along with, in an attempt to see my godmother – I realized… they didn’t deserve me. They didn’t deserve what I was willing to do or the things I’d gone through to be near them. No one advocated for me in that instance. Fear reigned. I called my godmother and informed her we were turning around. She asked me why. Which… struck me HARD – like… seriously?????? But I told her I didn’t want to get into it and that I’d check on her another time. I realize considering EVERYTHING going on, I may never see her again. And if it’s THAT bitter collection of broke assed bitches that surrounds her at her funeral then I’ll just have to say goodbye in my mind. Because I’ll NEVER. EVER EVER AGAIN IN LIFE be made to feel that way. Not in life. Not in death. It just made me realize, as much as I clung to her after my own mother’s death, I’m not “related” to her. Farah and all thems assholes are her actual family. I’m just by association and will never hold the same weight. And I’m okay to let go of that. Okay after many tears releasing my preconceived notions. There’s a lot of that lately…
A lot of realizing that I’ve misallocated my time. I’m questioning EVERYTHING. I’m uncomfortable with EVERYTHING. I don’t want this anymore. None of it is yielding anything that I put into it.
What’s the purpose????
I’m truly lost.