Happiness and unhappiness, I've written about them before. The highs, the lows - we have all had them this year. The year, that for some reason, we had to have. The year we have learnt and unlearnt, the year we have cancelled everything, dived back in, re-cancelled. The year we are shopping for Christmas in July and wondering not if we will ever save enough to get to Europe, but if we will ever cross the border so the kids can see Nanna. And we're only seven months in.
Unfortunately, for some people, this year will carry something more. It will serve up one of life's helpings of trauma. Some people this year will suffer trauma associated with COVID-19. Other people's trauma will come from somewhere else - from something lost, someone hurt, something fractured that cannot heal. Trauma is no respecter of dates or times. It does not clear the calendar before it arrives. It does not ensure the receiver is in a good place to receive.
I have a friend who is going through trauma. Her trauma is unshakeable. I am standing on the edges wringing my hands and smiling, desperate to do something that is totally undoable. She cannot see and cannot hear me. She is inside her trauma.
Trauma breaks us. Some say trauma makes us - but what exactly does it make us? It makes us different. I have been to a counsellor. Only once, but it was valuable. This counsellor told me some things that were useful and made me think about my own times of trauma.
There are some similarities to this time of coronavirus. It is a time of pulling up the drawbridge, of concentrating on existing. The counsellor told me that trauma and grief are in no way related to time. Time does not heal, it teaches us ways to cope.
We can all relate to our own horrible moments of realisation that life will be forever different. Many of us climb back into our shell, we rock ourselves long and silently until one day, we feel guilty because we wake a little easier, we enjoy the feel of the sun on our skin.
Still, there is something in you that is changed. Something has come loose or tightened. Something that has lost a bit of its shine and a bit of its joy. That's okay. To me, that has become totally okay.
Things that have lost their new glow are still valuable, and often even more beautiful. It would be wonderful to go singing through our lives, but it's never going to happen.
To my friend, if that day ever comes when you wake to the shaky sun, it will be okay to be okay. Some traumas surpass others, but it is more than okay to survive.
Marie Low is a freelance journalist based in Gunnedah, NSW.