And…So Here We Are
Updated: Apr 2, 2020
Today is Wednesday, March 25, 2020. I sit in my quiet office watching the wind blow through the barren trees. Soon, spring will show up and the grass will return to green, the leaves will bud out, and flowers will bloom. And yet everything is so different now. The coronavirus and its presence has changed everything we have known. Nothing feels the same anymore.
As an insurance agent, and someone very social, this isolation and separation is challenging to me. I come to my office daily and work alone. I don’t see anyone. I am isolated from contact with my clients whom I miss sharply. I call and check on friends, clients, and relatives. I listen. I hear their fear and concern. I try to encourage, support, and acknowledge their feelings right now. I was speaking to a close friend who described their feelings as one of grief.
“It is as if someone died,” he said. “Last week I was in shock. My job is no longer guaranteed, my schedule is so unpredictable. How can this be happening?” he said. This week he said, “I’m just sad, depressed really…”
It’s true, isn’t it? This does in some ways feel like death. The five stages of grief are:
Shock or disbelief, denial of the reality of what is happening.
Anger at what has happened.
Bargaining with the circumstances. If only I’d saved more money, been more prepared (like we could ever anticipate this happening!!!!).
Depression, overwhelming sadness.
Acceptance of the situation
In many ways, we are all grieving the life we once knew. Things change daily now and I suppose they will continue to change daily for quite some time. We are all in a form of limbo. Waiting it out, not knowing how all of this will turn out. I see friends in the grocery stores, the gas station. We all have that same look in our eyes, that stare, that nod of a head and acknowledgement that things are not the same with any of us. We smile at each other and move about the task at hand.
It feels sad and awkward to not reach out, touch. Make physical contact with my friends and loved ones. Those who know me know I have always been a hugger. God made me that way. It’s how I’m designed. And yet, the very thing that I want to do is not acceptable right now. So I move away from them with a small smile. “Sorry,” my mind says quietly to that dear friend whom I distance myself from. I don’t want to make anyone ill, and I don’t want to be ill.
I don’t know much about the future really. I don’t know when life will “feel normal” again, but a couple of things I know for sure:
I know we will get through this. We just will. It stinks, and it is devastating to see some of my friends, colleagues, and clients struggle. Businesses are closed, bills looming, and financial ruin for some of our local businesses that may never recover. The illnesses, health challenges, the loss of life for many. I’m not in denial of any of this. And yet, we persevere as a community. We are built to overcome. I see business recreating ways to stay open. Their sheer will to survive, their relentless drive to overcome is amazing. I sit in awe of their courage and determination. I see generous people donating time, money, food, running errands for the vulnerable. I see strangers helping other strangers. It is the reason I know we will get through this. Generosity and kindness are important antidotes for what currently ails us. They go a long way in calming our fears and soothing our raw nerves.
Dear friends, clients, and loved ones, know this one thing for sure: I am here. How can I help you? If you need to talk, rant, cry, rage at all this injustice, call me. I am not afraid of your rage or tears or rants. It means you're real, honest, and vulnerable just like the rest of us. If you don’t want to call me, call a trusted friend, a relative, a spiritual teacher. In this time of isolation and fear, we must not be afraid to ask for help. So much of this is bigger than us as individuals. Please don’t try to do this alone. It isn’t necessary. The kindness someone will show you in your time of need is away for them to soothe their own soul.
PS - Here are some resources you may find helpful during this time: Help with food, shelter, medicine: www.eaglecounty.us/COVID19help Eagle County's website for the latest information: www.ecemergency.org Information on the CARES Act which provides financial relief to small businesses:
Colorado Restaurant Association Angel Relief Fund. This program supports restaurants and hospitality workers with financial assistance and access to a COVID– 19 specific hub of support services that provide Federal, state, and community resources for housing, transportation, mental health, medical, child care assistance support and more.
https://www.corestaurant.org/foundation/angel-relief-fund Speak Up Reach Out Suicide Prevention