Dearest Rachel –
Monday morning. A new day, a new week, a new month – for all intents and purposes – and, for those who bother to keep track, a new quarter. Just about everything is new today.
And yet, it’s back to the same old, same old. After a week away from the ‘office,’ due to having Kevin in town, I’m back there again. Not that this is necessarily a complaint – my ‘office’ life, while not spent pursuing my dreams, are generally not the petri dish of stress and anxiety that my old job was. I’m happy to be there, helping the folks if and when they need anything, and it isn’t as if my workload is all that burdensome (although I do have a meeting with the auditors tomorrow, but that’s not something I’d be authorized to go into detail about with you even if you were here – and you’d probably be bored hearing about it at any rate).
We’re back to Daniel sleeping on the couch as I pad out of my room, rather than being awake while he and Kevin sit in their respective recliners, checking their respective news feeds. It’s why I’m up in the home office at the moment typing this; I’m in no rush to set myself up at the dining room table to have breakfast, and run the risk of waking him up. Things are back to what approximates ‘the new normal,’ as loathsome as that expression threatened to be, not so long ago.
Considering when you left, that phrase referred to taking various health precautions, such as masking and social distancing (the latter of which could be particularly hard on you, as you were one to want to give and receive hugs on a regular basis), and exercising them for the indefinite future, things have improved, I suppose. Most of those precautions have all but vanished, save for a few of the most hardcore fanatics. Even the president has stated that the pandemic is over (not for the first time, either – last July Fourth, he proclaimed independence from it, only for a whole new variant to make its presence felt around the time I made an attempt to travel abroad), although the team behind him promptly walked his comments back – I wonder why?
In any event, things have returned to a form of status quo ante – the way things were before – albeit not far enough back for my preferences, I might be able to guess. Things are basically back to how they were before Kevin arrived, rather than how they were before the accident, or before the lockdowns.
I wonder what things would be like, if we could return to those days, complete with the knowledge and experiences of the past three years? What would you say of this site? Would you be shocked about the events that have occurred since you left, or would they be no more surprising than the sudden departure that precipitated them? Would you be embarrassed by my quoting from the various notes you left around the house for yourself – and, more to the point, the study notes you filled in at the last minute in order to be allowed to participate in the group discussions – or would you be pleased to see I might find some comfort in them, and possibly offer inspiration to others of an otherwise ordinary woman and her faith amidst her struggles? I imagine there are a few things that have been written – both by me and by you – that might be considered cringeworthy, but that’s probably a topic for a whole other letter some other time. I’ve speculated about your likely dismay at everything that I wound up throwing out or giving up, but I’d like to think you’d understand that, since you’re no longer here to use any of it, it go unused here, and something else ought to be done about it all. Would the results of all that work, especially in the kitchen, impress you enough to put things in motion were we able to start from before the lockdowns?
And then, of course, there’s the question of what you would think of my attempts to find a successor to you. Would it bother you that I was trying to do so? I’d given you permission, but you admitted you couldn’t consider looking for anyone else; might you be offended to find that I have? Or would you be amused, as with the question about your friends in bikinis? Certainly, you might be relieved that I haven’t come anywhere close to finding someone your equal; or would you be sad for my sake?
So many thoughts to consider, all completely hypothetical and not really worth pondering over, when it comes down to it. We have our ‘new normal,’ such as it is, and we need to proceed within its confines for now. It’s not exactly ideal, but I suppose it could be worse; I do have the support of friends and family. Daniel has a friend to spend time with more often; and while he continues to resist going out on his own, he does participate in service and worship. Things could be so much better, but we’ll be able to get by.
Anyway, keep an eye on us, honey, and wish us luck. We’re going to need it.