It’s not fine — 2020

To be honest, I really don’t feel like adding a new post to my blog right now. Despite some of the positive aspects that were part of 2020, it’s not ending on a good note.

Let me get the unpleasant part out of the way first. I moved back to Germany in September, hoping to be closer to my family. I was, and that was great. For a brief while, it even seemed like life was almost normal again. The time I spent with friends in September was amazing. A new job, a new apartment, everything seemed to be going the right way.

But then, Covid began to take over life in Berlin again. Demonstrations against restrictions, tightening of regulations for public and private gatherings, and effectively an cancellation of Christmas (I never thought that there even was such a thing).

The latest is my mother’s health situation. She had her second heart attack a few days ago. That alone is scary enough. With Covid, the tragedy is now that nobody is allowed to visit, my father can drop a few items off for her, but has not access, other than by phone. To add to it, we can’t visit my father either. Sure, we could, but with the travel restrictions, and the real concern about bringing Covid into my parent’s house, he does not want any visitors.

The only reason I’m writing this post is that I need to just put down how I feel. It’s the story of my family, in a way. Nothing is ever wrong, until it’s undeniable. First, it was just a routine surgery to place some stents into the arteries. Then my mother had difficulty breathing and needed oxygen. That helped, and my sister and I were told that she might be back today.

Now it turns out that they had detected fluids in her lungs and today drained 1.5 L out of one side of her lung. Tomorrow they will handle the other side. But besides that, it’s all fine.

My father was already alone over Christmas, the first time since he met my mother over 50 years ago. Now he’s going to spend New Year’s alone as well. But he’s fine.

What I really want to do is scream at him that it’s ok to say, it’s not fine! Fuck, nothing about 2020, is ‘fine’. Sure, we’re making the best of it, at times that even leads to wonderful times that wouldn’t have been possible without a global pandemic. But it I’m freaking out because I just don’t know what’s going on with my parent, then I cannot even begin to imagine what’s going on with those who have loved ones with Covid in a hospital.

Covid is just a side-effect for me and my parents, at least so I hope. I’m not even sure I would find out if my mother had Covid until it’s run its course, one way or the other. I love my parents.

I can go back to my childhood and it’s always been the same. If there was something wrong, we wouldn’t talk about it. Whether it’s school, relationships, illnesses, or anything else. That’s why I moved out as soon as I could. Of course, I was completely unprepared to deal with life on my won. No wonder, I ended up in bad relationships, but abused (although unlike many others, I got lucky and friends pulled me out of those relationships).

I’m upset. I’m upset with my parents for their ‘it’s fine’ attitude to life. I’m upset with not being able to see for myself how my parents are doing. I don’t even trust that my father is telling the bad news, if there is bad news. It feels like I’m still being treated like a small child that needs to be protected from the ‘harsh’ realities of life.

Fuck, if my parents knew what life I had lived while telling them that everything was fine, they wouldn’t think I need protection from them. I know that life can be harsh and cruel. But it’s also beautiful and often in ways that get stand in such contrast to the cold and uncaring world around us.

I just hope that I’ll never become a ‘it’s all fine’ kind of parent or friend. If something sucks, it sucks. That’s the first step to getting it to suck a little less in the future.

Sorry for the rant — it’s my blog and nobody is making you read it.

Wicked Wednesday

PS: Quick update, my mother was released from hospital on New Year’s Eve. Of course, rather than acknowledging that this was a close call, she’s back doing everything around the house she’s always done. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but in any case, it’s so typical.

P.P.S.: Not 48 hours into the new year, my mother had a severe stroke and is back in the hospital; this time it will be days before we know the prognosis, and the future is terribly uncertain. No, things are definitely not fine.

This will be the end of me writing about my family, at least for now.

At this stage, venting doesn’t help. She’ll need all the support we can give her, as does my father. And I need to keep this space to keep up the cheerful parts of life. Thanks.

36 thoughts on “It’s not fine — 2020

  1. Your family is in my thoughts during this incredibly difficult time, Francesca. I am praying your mother pulls through and that Covid doesn’t further complicate things. I hear what you are saying about being raised in a family where “everything is fine”, even when it’s not. This can make a person feel so isolated. Hugs, my friend <3

    1. Thank you, Nora. Sometimes, I think it’s easier being the one who is sick, than the one standing outside wondering what’s going on. I really appreciate your words and support at this time. xoxo

  2. Seriously, I think you would explode if you did not have a place where you could have a rant. It sounds like you have had so much to cause you anxiety….xx
    I truly hope your mom makes a recovery and is back home with those who love her most.
    Everything is not fine – the odd thing is this world has sucked for a long time, but there were a hell of a lot of people who were all “I’m alright Jack” and all “If you think positive your life will be positive” – I don’t agree with that – meditation does not cure all problems.
    Life is not all plain sailing – storms that damage us come along and it can take a long time to recover – but there are also times when it is wonderful to to be voyaging through life – just never know when another storm is about to roll in.

    1. It’s so true. I don’t even know how to have a conversation when the answer is always, ‘oh, don’t worry.’ It may be well intended, but can really drive me up the wall, when I can see how it’s not OK. Thanks for your support! xoxo

  3. Oh Francesca, I am so sorry to hear this, and rant all you want. I can’t begin to imagine your frustration with the ‘it’s fine’ attitude, and not getting the information you really want about your mother. I am so sorry to learn she had another heart attack. I am sending positive thoughts to you in this incredibly difficult time. Hugs to you, my friend! Be strong.
    ~ Marie xox

    1. Thanks, Marie. And also thanks for putting up with my rants. Even though they are about a personal situation, I have a sense that many feel similar about the situations they are in this year. I really do appreciate all your support, not just now, but throughout all of 2020. xoxo

  4. Oh Francesca this does sound really hard. And I think you have earned the right to rant – not just because this is your own space and you can offload if you want to, but because you have been through so much this year. I hope that the new year is kinder to you and affords you some time to relax and also to play. Take care – thinking of you. missy x

    1. Thanks, missy! There are so many things I’m looking forward to in 2021. A lot of them are so mundane, others more elaborate. I just hope that it will get better for all of us. xoxo

    1. Thanks, sindee. No worries, I’ll keep ranting, if that’s what I need to do. Thanks so much for all you support and help throughout this difficult year. I really appreciated having you in my blogging world. xoxo

  5. Francesca this whole dynamic does suck!!! My mother didn’t want to let my me and my brother know that she had a large malignant tumor in her vulva and was having surgery etc. in 1973. My father traveled from their home in Wisconsin to Massachusetts to let me know the truth of what was going on. And I discovered other family secrets from the time I was two years old on which continue to impact my life and choices to now.
    After that I was stomping, screaming, swearing mad in my theological school room where I was studying for pastoral counseling and ordained ministry.
    I made it my mission to intervene to encourage direct communications of feelings, thoughts, and assumptions by both my mother and my father. Direct not indirect or hidden in code words.
    Not playing “nice, nice” when everything was not nice, when there was pain, heartache, fear, confusion. I was afraid for myself, my mother, and my father about the unknown present and future.
    Better to express one’s pain than swallow it in sweets, fats, booze, drugs, or random hooking up.
    And you’ll be in a more grounded emotional space to try to speak with your parents, and hopefully charge nurses and doctors who can tell you the truth if your parents give permission for you to access it.
    I share this because of my years learning how to make one’s way through these hard times as a person and as a pastor, hospital chaplain, college chaplain, hospice chaplain.
    Go outside if you can and breathe deeply, Stomp hard and loud. Ventilate. And let go with a golden shower, not holding in what is pissy.
    Much love and blessings, peace and strength. David

    1. Oh, David. I think you really did find your calling. It feels so good to know that what I’m experiencing is all too common, but that my reaction to it is only healthy. You’ve been amazing throughout this difficult year with your advice, your comments, and just being around in various fora. There is always a depth to your comments that make me think. All I can think now is letting the pissy part go out. xoxo

      1. I hope you have had relieving golden showers. Feel free to direct message me if you think I can be helpful. xoxo

  6. Oh Francesca – that last line did make me smile – it is your blog and yes u rant all you want… I am so sorry about your Mum. When I was in Glasgow my brother in law had a heart attack and we were not allowed to visit – it is the pits and it is NOT FINE. I am am with you with this. What is going on in the world is not fine. And sometimes makes me sooo angry.
    Take care, look after yourself and you little one – and keep us informed – you matter

    May xx

    1. Thank you, May, and I can see how you’re getting mad when everyone pretends that the world is fine. If you’re still thinking of your 21 yo in New York as your baby, I guess I have a long way to go (20 years and probably more) before my little one is no longer a baby in my eyes. To borrow a quote,

      “I’ll love you forever,
      I’ll like you for always,
      As long as I’m living,
      my baby you’ll be.”


  7. I am sorry to read the health condition of your Mum right now. Its wretched to gaze on, helpless to do anything.

    Yes, it’s your blog, you write whatever you want, the good and the bad – that’s what real life is like.

    Sending best wishes

    1. Thanks, Swirly, for your support and for being around this past year. You’ve help so many times along the way in what was a uniquely difficult year. You’re a real treasure. xoxoxo

  8. Really sorry to hear about your Mum Francesca. Sending her and your family best wishes in this difficult time, stay safe and take care.

    1. Thanks, Cal! I’ll see how it all turns out, but I consider myself lucky to have people in my life who are as supportive as you are. Thank you! xoxoxo

  9. My family got hit hard by COVID, two hospitalizations. Everybody made it, just have to realize the world is a tiny place and nations are but lines on a map that reality does not care about.

    1. I’m glad your family recovered,, although the agony must be terrifying. I honestly don’t understand how people can’t get it that borders are just something people made up to claim their bit of power – not something a virus cares about. xo

    1. Thanks, Sweetgirl, it did. Although as soon as it’s over, it’s like nothing ever happened. Sending lots of hugs and love from both of us. xoxo

  10. If you can’t rant on your own blog, then where can you rant? Seems the best place to do it. Life has been tough this year. Your Mom and Dad are trying to spare you, but don’t realize their words have the direct opposite effect. Stay safe! Things will get better.

    1. Thanks for putting up with my rant. I know it’s well intentioned, although my sister and I wonder how many times we have to go through this. But this is how they grew up – keep your problems to yourself, and just try not to be a burden on others. xoxo

  11. Love and hugs Francesca. It is right, as the others say and you know already, to rant on your blog, it’s your place of free expression. Your parents’ shielding is done with love, but it’s clearly a pattern which has frustrated & smothered you a long time. When things calm down and your mother is better and your father no longer worried (hoping, hoping this is soon) you should try to communicate your frustration over this. Love and support as always – you’ve managed to clear so many hurdles this year, it’s been tough for you in 2020. I don’t doubt you’ll welcome 2021 as being different.

    1. Thanks, so much Posy. Sometimes, it just takes another person saying the obvious. After her first heart attack, my sister and I tried to get it through to my parent that this is nothing to brush off. I don’t think we were very successful. But it’s a pattern that has been going on for a long time, and since our parents aren’t getting any younger (and we’d like them to stick around for a while), keeping quiet about important health information is not fair to us. Apart from that, 2021 is already better than the end of 2020! xoxoxo

  12. Thank you for your beautiful honesty, dear Francesca. Believe me, I understand the hell you have gone through with sick and dying parents!
    I also had COVID-19 myself in 2020. Keep in touch, here, by email, or Twitter, dear Francesca. Please “vent” here whenever you want to. I will read and comment.

    Love, Dani

    1. You are an angel, Dani. I’m so sorry that you had to go through something similar, in addition to having Covid. It’s ironic, my parents lived such a secluded life for fear of contracting covid, and now it’s likely to change for good. I’m not sure my mother will ever be the same again. I am just glad that I came back here, she had a chance to see her grandson, and I have memories of that. ???

  13. Thank you for your kind words, Francesca. I am so happy to keep in touch with you. You are a beautiful, talented, hard-working woman that I have a lot of respect for. I am glad that your return leaves good memories of your mother seeing her grandson.

    Francesca, I believe your 2021 will be a better year than 2020 was. I love you.. Dani

  14. I’m still thinking of you, dear Francesca. It is now Spring 2021, and I hope some positive changes have happened for you.
    Send me an email anytime to update me on where you are and what you are doing, and VENT all you want to, Dear.
    I will be very happy to hear from you and to listen.

    Love, Dani

  15. Oh my, I’ve followed you for a while now, but just getting around to reading your blog.

    I’m so, so sorry your mother was struggling so hard a year ago… As I keep reading, I’m hoping to hear good news but…. yeah.

    2021 hasn’t been a whole lot better than 2020 was, thankfully for me at least, it also hasn’t been worse.

    In the highly unlikely event we should ever meet, you have a big, kind Rubberkitty hug for all of the struggles available. For now, e-hugs will have to suffice.

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