If you’ve been following my column, you know that I have a full plate, the entrée being my father dying of cancer. Luckily, I’ve been gifted with the extraordinary power to step outside myself during moments of emotional turmoil and find humor in my futile attempt at invulnerability.
Take last Thursday, quite possibly the worst day of my 2020. It started off fine. I was back in the classroom, my three oldest children were heading to college that evening and my youngest, though bedridden with the flu (?), was improving. And then …
My daughter texted: “COVID positive.” Sonofab*&^! My principal showed up shortly thereafter to escort me from the building while my bewildered students looked on. Though embarrassed and upset, I held it together. I also remember thinking, “At least ‘The Scarlet Letter’ lady got an ‘A;’ all I got was a ‘C+.’” See? I’m particularly clever under stress!
I anticipated a breakdown once I was alone in the minivan, but years of suppressing my feelings kept the sobs at bay. I arrived home to chaos, a pleasant distraction from my predicament. Then, my sisters called a Zoom meeting, and for the next hour I stoically discussed end-of-life care for Dad. Again, no tears. I recognized my closing throat for what it was, but clung to the mantra “Thou shall not weep!” Not on flippin’ Zoom.
What finally did me in? Not the weight of losing my father or being banished from school or even knowing that my baby was potentially very ill. No. It was stupid Amazon Prime reneging on its two-day delivery promise. I bawled like a newborn!