Wednesday, March 25, 2020

QUARANTINE CHRONICLES: GRIEF

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(This photo is me working towards normal even during this chaos.  I've realized that sometimes, washing my hair and putting on makeup do a world of good for my inside as well as my outside.)

We're a full week.5 into parts of our new reality.  As the Covid-19 timeline goes for us, two and a half weeks ago, things were still pretty normal.  That next Monday, we started wondering if we would take our Spring Break trip.  Each day of that week brought news that changed the world dramatically.  By the end of that week, we were living in a different world entirely.

Last week brought us trying to settle into our new normals of homeschooling, mostly sheltering-in-place, social distancing and uncertainty of how long all of that will last.  We've closed down our mall restaurant, and we're running drive-thru only at our free-standing restaurant.  NONE of this was on our minds 3 weeks ago.  It's a lot to take in, and it all happened so suddenly.

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I've tried to adjust to the new normal, but I've found my emotions about it to be all over the place.  Mostly, I've realized that I have a lot of grief about what has happened/is happening.  You're probably familiar with the Five Stages of Grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.  As I look at it, I've spent most of the last week bobbing between Denial and Anger, and I've started cycling towards Bargaining and Depression as well.  Every morning I wake up and realize all over again that we are in the middle of an unprecedented worldwide pandemic that has shut down our country and many normal parts of our lives.  It feels like something has died.

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As I've Marco-Poloed and talked with friends all week, I've heard so many people feeling the same things that I am.  It's confusing and overwhelming.  We want to make the best of things, but find ourselves feeling angry and discouraged.  We know that it could be a million times worse - we could be going to war.  But we have all lost our normals, and we need time to grieve that.  I've had to learn to pay attention to what is going on inside of me and honor the feelings that are there.  The stress and anxiety that these times hold are real, and though there will be gifts that come out of this season, I cannot move straight to those without acknowledging all of the very real losses.

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I have a love/hate relationship with all of the social media response to this.  I have loved the constant supply of memes.  As we ALL go through this as a society, we have to laugh through it, and I have appreciated the steady supply of humor about Covid-19 to be found online.  I have hated all of the posts about how we are just being asked to sit on a couch.  To be honest, I've been mad that this whole thing happens at a time when I have four children that need a lot of oversight and attention at almost all times.  I would be sad, but mostly fine, if I could just do house projects and watch television and work out.  That is NOT my life.

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It's also hard to reconcile the inequalities that are glaring during a time like this.  I am not worried about feeding our family, and it is both mind-blowing and also comforting that John's work is considered "essential."  We have an income that continues during this time, and I am so thankful.  I can stay home with our children and not miss work.  However, there are SO MANY people that are affected much more deeply.  It's hard to be sad about the way my own life looks right now and also recognize how much harder it is on people who had it harder to begin with.

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I know I will move towards Acceptance as we walk this journey all together.  There are a lot of sweet moments, and I'm working to be present and appreciative of the special time we do have together.  But I'm also letting myself be sad when I need to be.  It will pass, but I know that I have to pay attention to those emotions.  They will find a way out one way or the other.  So - if you are in a similar place, this is just a reminder to give grace to yourself and others.  None of us has ever done this before, and we're all having to figure it out together, separately.

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