This has been such a hard year;
it started off rough for us
even before COVID darkened the door.
I didn’t know how I could cope
with the danger (I had been denying)
of my daughter’s depression, while I
was at the end of my tether too? I needed
to do things to keep me strong,
so I started getting serious about my own
self-care: sleeping, nurturing relationships,
unplugging from news, poetry, biking.
I’m happy about the progress I’ve made–
I feel like I’ve tapped into some resilience,
but damn…we’re gonna need it.
__________This just grinds on and on and on.
I wonder and worry: how close will it come
to my own inner circle? Will it be my aging mother?
My smoking husband? All bets are off.
But it doesn’t have to be tragic.
The slowing down gives space to sit
and think about what matters.
People matter. Love matters.
Truth matters. Beauty matters.
My connection to the universe matters.
The natural world matters. It will show us ways
to be there for one another, to bear witness
to the unburdening, throughout all the seasons.
Notes from the interview that inspired this poem:
Right away, this woman radiated warmth, kindness, and a generosity of spirit that shone in her eyes. She shared that her year began with a terrible scare from her daughter’s depression, and trying to cope with that crisis had prompted one of her own. She began going to therapy and committed to prioritizing self-care so that she could make it through this time of uncertainty with enough strength to also support others. “Anything we can do to foster resilience is needed now; we’re in a log slog here and I’d like that to be my topic of unburdening today,” she said. “We just don’t know what lies ahead, so I’m focusing on what I can control. We’re making slow progress toward a new normal, and it doesn’t have to be tragic. But we’re going to need to tap into a lot of resilience together…and to our connections to the natural world, the universe, and to the sublime.”
Interviewee: Anonymous, Staff
Listener Poet: Jenny Hegland