Defusing Despair Paralysis

Today was difficult at my house, as I imagine it was for many. While I’m not a religious person, Easter has always been a time for my family to gather for a big holiday meal and spend some quality time together. That was not possible this year due to the extraordinary circumstances we are all currently living with.

Gratefully, I was able to see my parents briefly yesterday while dropping stuff off at their house. I haven’t seen them in over a month, and the social distancing thing was weird, but it was good to lay my eyes on them and see that they are well.

Today I took some ham, buns, and brownies to Older Son. I hung them on the door, and he opened it when I was six feet away. That was also weird, but it was good to see him. I got to speak with his girlfriend briefly as she was getting off shift at a local convenience store after I got done with Older Son, and it was good to see her as well.

I then took my car through the car wash and cried, and I’ve been weepy all day. I’m not sure why, but it does feel a whole lot like the sort of despair I experienced when I was newly going through divorce. I imagine being mostly furloughed from my job, and being cooped up in the house, listening to the worsening news every day… multiple times a day… has a lot to do with it. Too many unknowns to be able to process.

I want to give Birdie Girl props for giving me a good pep talk today. She’s one of the most can-do people I’ve ever met, and knew just what to say to help me put the despair down. Basically, in the face of adversity, get up and do… control what you can.

So, I got up and did something. Really, I was just puttering in the kitchen, but it beats the Despair Paralysis I was experiencing.

I spied my Grandmother’s recipe box while chopping up a watermelon rind to put in the compost heap, and recalled how much she she enjoyed watermelon pickles. They were never my favorite, but I remember helping her make them. I spent a lot of time with Grandma in her kitchen, as is right and proper.

I don’t often open Grandma’s recipe box, but I did tonight. It was good to have the very concrete experience of picking through her recipes, seeing her handwriting, and remember all the good food we made together from the time I was small.

I never did find her watermelon pickle recipe, but in case you are interested in how they are made, I found one here:

Watermelon Rind Pickles

Here’s hoping you all have treasured touchstones that help you to stay grounded when life goes sideways, and friends who give good pep talks. Blessings all!

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