The color of dread, to me looks like a dense, menicing fog that slowly swallows everything around it. A fog so thick, you can barely see your feet planted on the trembling ground beneath your body. It crawls across the landscape slowly and piece by piece everything around you disappears

I guess it started, for me, just after Christmas. Scrolling through my social media news feed. Slowly, at first, articles and videos of a virus in a far off land. Ravaging the public, creeping in slowly… an invisible threat. As this continued to develop and the news became more and more bleak.

By the middle of January my mind was littered with videos of over filled hospitals, people collapsing in the streets. So far away, I tried to remind myself, but the slow crawling feeling of dread inched closer with every week. Little by little the threat settled closer and closer to home. International flights cancelled, talk of school closings and possibility of impending martial law. Conspiracy theorists blog about a new world order, out with the wicked, another civil war on the horizon.

Stop! I discipline myself, no more research. I set my phone down and become aware of my surroundings, in hopes, that it would ease the tightening in my chest. Unfortunately, this somehow only made it worse. I studied my children, innocent, no sign of fear in their eyes. They sparkle as they look to me. Those eyes of my pure and perfect little humans caused me to succumb to my fears.

The fear that I cannot protect those I hold most dear to me. The fear that they could, at any moment, be swallowed up by this insidious virus. There would be no warning, no visible monster that I could fend off, no horrible criminal that I could destroy and rip apart with my bare hands to protect them.

I am helpless. Knowing the only thing I can do to keep them safe is to lock my home down. It doesn’t seem like enough. There isn’t a magical spell I could cast around my home to keep the outside away. With every sniffle and cough that any of the three of them display I become crippled with fear. I spend most of the day talking myself out of an anxiety attack. They’re fine my heart beats faster, they’re fine my throat tightens around my voicebox, allergies, it’s only allergies my breathing becomes somewhat labored. I chant to myself in my head while we keep busy with online learning, picnics and different forms of art.

Somehow I claw through each day. I thicken my mask, fasten it to me face with a staple gun and JB weld, focus on the eyes, their sparkle, their sense of wonder. So at ease, even with all of the vast and momentous changes happening around them. In their eyes I can see that I have been successful at protecting them from at least one thing, The dread. They don’t feel it, They don’t see it and for this, I am exceedingly grateful.

Perhaps I could hide out tomorrow and reward myself. Delve back into the lives of the characters in my story. There is, in fact, some pretty dreadful circumstances happening in that world as well. Now more than ever, I can explain this dread, this fear and share it with the world

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