My American Tribal Style dance troupe suffered a great loss even before the pandemic. My mother died in 2018. It took her 24 days to pass, in hospice. It was the most stressful and odd time in my life: waiting for someone to die, someone with whom so much had not been set straight. An enormous part of me died on that day and I’ve been mourning both of us ever since.
I just couldn’t bring myself to dance or to teach, and so my troupe class was put on hold, along with any hope of performing. It took a long time for me to recover, after which only three of us continued on. Yes, I did feel guilty; quite. Guilt doesn’t lurch you into action the way you might think it would, though. We had barely gotten on our feet again and then the pandemic hit and that was that.
A large piece of me was relieved. I was so tired. I didn’t have IT anymore. I just wanted to stop. And with all of my assisted living communities unable to have vendors in the building (and honestly, I wouldn’t have gone in them regardless), I found myself with a break I’ve needed for years.
I did feel one type of guilt: guilt that I didn’t miss dancing and teaching. I still don’t.
However, I do miss my dancing companions. So I called and they were as glad to get together as I. We planned to meet after we were all vaxxed (for me, it was actually only about a week after my second shot) and we met at a tree-lined, grassy area in a beautiful park, away from all the people. We wore costumes – rehearsal-style, not performance-style – and danced there in the sunlight, talked, reminisced, complained, shared our pandemic stories, danced some more. It was good to get out into the sun, into the air, without a mask, seeing our full faces and remembering each other.
Now of course the Brood X cicadas are plaguing us! So yep, another setback. But that’s OK; remember, I’m not actually missing the hamster wheel anymore. We’ll get together again soon and we’ll dance again and likely take shows into the communities again, but I won’t be teaching in them anymore. And that’s just fine with me.