I don’t really think much anymore. I also very rarely have an opinion either. When I sit down at night to pray, the only thing I’ve been asking God for is to keep me, my husband and my family alive. That’s about all I really think about. Survival. That’s my goal. That’s my dream. That’s my ambition: living. For as long as I possibly can.

Having my brother die of the coronavirus drastically changed me. When you see how quickly one can lose their life and how delicate the human balance is, it makes an impression on your very soul that you can not shake off. I very rarely speak anymore. I don’t have anything to say. I find it difficult to sleep throughout the night. I find myself waking up at 3AM, pouring myself a cup of coffee and just sitting in my recliner staring out into the darkness. My mind is blank. It just doesn’t have any more thoughts running through it. I just pray and pray for no more deaths in my immediate family.

By 9am I’m feeling tired. I go back to sleep till noon time. My husband always has a meal waiting for me in the kitchen. I eat. I do my chores. I tend to my garden. I listen to music. I write. I pay bills. I have dinner. I watch a movie. I obsess over YouTube videos. I text my sister every night around 11PM. She’s all I have left of my family. Everyone is gone now. I go to sleep around 1AM only to repeat what has gone on from the day before.

Occasionally I’ll feel a glimpse of my brother and I’ll find myself in tears. The feeling doesn’t last long. I push it aside because I don’t want to wallow. I want to keep on living. I want to survive. Why? I have no idea. I don’t think I’m depressed because I still seem to be functioning. I’ve kept up with my daily chores. I started a new hobby: gardening. I’m content with its results. I cook. I bake. I manage our finances. All our bills are being paid on time. But I see no one. I talk to no one. I haven’t been with my children and grandchildren since Christmas. I’ve mastered Zoom, but its not a human replacement. I’m living. I’m existing. But that is all.

The life that I used to lead is gone. It’s not coming back anytime soon. To realize that I’m losing precious time, precious years suspended in a time warp is disconcerting. Yet, I should consider myself fortunate because my brother didn’t get the opportunities I’m getting right now. He was robbed of the best years of his later life.

Goals. Dreams. Ambitions.

I need to keep a roof over my head, food on the table, bills paid on time and be as healthy as I possibly can be. I need to stay alive so that if my children need me, I’ll still be available. That is my focus now. Not to think. Not to have an opinion. Not to say a word. Maintaining some sort of lifestyle during a pandemic is a challenge. I’ll need to be resourceful and to keep my wits about me. I need to be financially astute. I need to accept what I can not change and change what I can not accept.

I need to survive. And that is precisely what I am doing.