The COVID Diaries: Some of the Ways a Heart Can Break

Hi Darling Ones,

I did not intend to take a three-day hiatus from the COVID Diaries, but Sister #4 came up from South Dakota for work-related reasons and that took up all my time. I probably shouldn’t be writing now because I’ve had very little sleep over the past three days and that tends to make me more melancholy than usual. So, why not write about some of the ways a heart can break?

The First Way

Beverly Cleary dies.

I was in the middle of making of all Sister #4’s coworkers hobbies (she was reading from the company employee directory) when I spied The Washington Post alert on my phone and immediately burst into tears. “BEVERLY CLEARY DIED,” I shouted. Then I typed it in all caps in our Wedding Party group chat.

After that, I warned Sister #4 that I was going to cry for awhile. The news of her death shattered me. I knew she was old and wouldn’t be around forever. Hell, I wrote this appreciation of Beezus & Ramona in 2009 in honor of her 93rd birthday. I’ve written about reading Cleary as an adult, about Beezus & Ramona being the best literary siblings, and there’s even a COVID Diaries entry from October about Beverly Cleary after I read a Willie Nelson memoir.

She meant more to me than any other author. Beverly Cleary’s books are the foundation of my personality. Who am I if I had never discovered Beezus & Ramona? Who is Jodi Chromey without a life-long love of books and words and writing? Would you even be reading these words without Beverly Cleary’s existence?

The Second Way

A dog can hate you so much she spends the night howling in despair. I had to dogsit Dolly while Sister #4 did her work stuff, which involved an overnight stay at a hotel. Dolly: not a fan. Not only did Dolly cry for 10 hours straight after my sister left, Dolly proceeded to wail/howl when I put her to bed in the bedroom she and Sister #4 share when they’re here. I had to close the door on Dolly at bedtime so my poor Vengeance Demon, Wendell, can use the facilities and eat. Whenever Dolly’s here, Wendell spends the entire day in my bed, quaking under the covers. It’s all a nightmare. I hope I never hear a dog wail from a broken heart, because that was a lot.

The Third Way

Yesterday was the 16th birthday of the youngest Tibble. You should know by now that the loss of my relationship with The Tibbles hurts me so much that I don’t like to talk or type about it. Again, I try to stay away from the piece of glass in my heart and for the most part do a pretty good job of it. But, you know, birthdays.

The Fourth Way

Uffda! March is rife with shitty, painful anniversaries. Every day my TimeHop is filled with punches straight to the heart, not only is it filled with memories of last year at the start of the pandemic when Supergenius HQ briefly became Aunt Jodi’s Home for Wayward Nephews, but also years and years of Tibblesitting during Spring Break. It’s so bittersweet. And then today this fucker popped up.
a note that says: The Internet was very kind to my broken heart
Ugh. Ouch. Barf.

Thankfully, along with that picture TimeHop also served up the Internet being kind to my broken heart, which did make me smile.

This one still pokes at my sore spots, and not just about the person who broke my heart, but the loss of my relationship with FFJ who came over to tend to my broken heart that night. I miss her a lot, but it still stings how she threw me over for a boyfriend like we were fifteen. I don’t have the capacity to do all the emotional labor it would take to incorporate her back into my life in a meaningful way, and I’m not even sure she’d want that. The last time I saw her in 2017 or 2018 she was salty that I hadn’t told her how sick my dad was in 2016 and how close we came to losing him after his stroke.

That’s all for now, Darling Ones, more tomorrow,

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