What Does a Mother Say During Corona?
Holding my son through a global pandemic when he is across the world tugs on my heart strings big time. But it’s getting easier in a way, because life is at stake.
He’s on the island of Rhodes, in a remote rural area, and it’s a Millennial Nightmare. No wifi, no stores within a mile radius and only a few people in his vicinity.
It doesn’t surprise me that he wants to leave and return to Athens. He has a ferry ticket and I don’t want him to go.
Stay where you are, my daughter and I tell him.
When you say that, it feels like I am trapped, he responds, I don’t want to stay here longer.
I get it. He wants to be around more people. He’s bored, his mind isn’t stimulated, he feels stuck. Those things are all his interpretations and choices, and where he is spiritually choosing to be right now.
On a physical level, he might be okay if he took the ferry to Athens as planned and stayed there. But who knows? Shops and restaurants in Athens are shutting down and movement is restricted. The host of the next location he is supposed to stay at told him there are gloves and masks there and people are healthy to the best of her knowledge.
But why go there and be amongst so many people when he is in such a remote safe location?
It wracks with my mind to be honest. I don’t feel very concerned that he would get coronavirus and that his life would be at risk, but it’s possible. His mental health is important as well, plus there is the global impact of him traveling to a new place.
I know he doesn’t like it but I tell him anyway, Stay on the island.
I can feel his anxiety — it’s in his voice, the way it shakes, the tone, the lack of humor. He hates the thought of staying in this remote place much longer. Ten days was already a stretch.
I will support you in whatever decision you make, I tell him, even if it is different than mine. If you decide to go to Athens, I will support you. And I am also going to tell you straight out what I think: the safest place for you right now is right where you are, on Rhodes.
The line is silent. I love you, I say.
Maybe I should just come home, he says.
No, my daughter and I tell him, that doesn’t make sense — it’s not safe for you to travel right now when you are in such a remote, safe place.
We could go around in circles forever, and we have a few times. It always comes back to the same bottom line for me. Stay on the island.
I realize he’s deep in an internal struggle, and I am getting stronger holding him here.
It’s almost time to get off the phone and I make a lame suggestion for him to read his book. He gets a bit ornery. I realize he’s deep in an internal struggle, and I am getting stronger holding him here.
What flashes in my mind next is the Holocaust. It’s been flashing in my head a lot, lately. Every time I talk to my mom or one of my kids, I think how lucky we are that we are able to communicate so easily during a global pandemic. I think of how cushy it is that we are locked in our apartments with all the food we need, plus hours upon hours of entertainment and connection.
I ask him if he has heard of Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl. I hold his words to be quite powerful, given the atrocities he survived in two concentration camps. He demonstrated what is possible in circumstances that are beyond horrific.
I share these quotes with my son:
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. ~Viktor Frankl
When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. ~Viktor Frankl
I see him in his internal struggle. I see myself in mine. And there is my daughter, too, who supports us both. She gives me more strength to hold strong.
It is a lot of energy to hold his system and stand strong in my opinion that he should stay. I want to make it better for him, and yet I can’t.
I feel tired. But I hold strong, still. Thank god I have my own support system.
He was supposed to travel throughout Europe and Asia for several more months. And yet, this is the situation that the Universe has offered him.What will he do with it? That is his spiritual journey to walk, and luckily he can’t do his spiritual journey wrong — it’s all here for our learning.
My spiritual journey is to hold strong in my belief for him to stay safe, to honor his impact in our global society, even when it upsets him so. And to love and support him no matter what he chooses. And I will.
A few hours later, a text comes through on our family thread from him that says, I hear you that staying here is the safest option.
My response is simple: I love you.
As of now, it remains uncertain what he will decide. He is gathering more information and looking at different options.
Tomorrow is a new day.
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