COVID-19 Diaries: Doom

Photo by Tyler Lastovich on

My right eye twitches. I press my finger on the jumping nerve to still it. Tears poke behind my eyelids. My eyes burn. I am feeling feverish from a lack of sleep and running on adrenaline for two weeks now.

My phone lights up with a notification. An extended family member reaches out hearing of amma.

“How is she?”

“How can I help?”

“I will pray for her.”

The messages are meant to be reassuring. Sometimes they are. Other times they are exhausting, infuriating and annoying.

I walk around my development, my earphones plugged in. My pace is slow. I am chatting with friend sometime, a family member another time. I have this feeling of being in an out of body experience. I see myself walking, talking animatedly. This is not happening to me. This is not my mother in the hospital writing that she is drained. I am watching this unfold to someone I know. Someone dear to me but not me. I want to be the person reaching out asking “how can I help?”

I don’t know how I feel. I don’t know how to feel. I don’t know what I should be feeling.

What do you name this thing where you are watching a train wreck in slow motion? What do you name this thing when you read first person accounts of having COVID? What do you name this thing when you google night sweats, profuse sweating, dry mouth, exhaustion and pneumonia and belatedly add a “+ COVID” to your search?

This nameless entity has taken me over. The distance in miles is insurmountable. The distance between me and Amma seems unreachable. I feel her slipping out of reach. I am watching and I cannot help.

Is there a name for this helplessness that comes with watching your amma die albeit from a distance?

I am lost. I am rudderless. I am sad. I am scared. I am afraid. I am weak.