Stages of grief and COVID-19
I know the calendar says autumn, but Friday morning, with Chicago’s temperature in the 30s, I’m pretty sure winter has arrived. And for me, after four seasons of COVID-19, so has acceptance.
If you’ve ever lost someone you love, you know the stages of grief. They start with denial, and if you’re lucky, and after a lot of work, there is acceptance.
Back in March, I laughed and rolled my eyes when I saw people bumping elbows instead of giving hugs. I thought schools would never be closed for more than a week, maybe two. And I won’t get sick, not as long as Purell is around. The denial stage.
And then everything stopped. The quiet in the city was deafening and very scary.
Little by little, COVID-19 chipped away at the life I love. I was angry, and I had nowhere to put it. The anger stage.
Masks gave me some bargaining power. I could leave where I was sheltering in place and feel somewhat protected. Getting some fresh air seemed to be OK, too. Supermarkets offered “senior hours.” Zoom? Never heard of it, and now it’s a verb! I could see my family and have a virtual cocktail with friends. The new normal began. The bargaining stage.
But by August, I began to believe the nightmare was real, and I may never wake up. The depression stage.
Today, even though experts warn things will get worse before they get better, our rock star and guiding light, the brilliant epidemiologist Dr. Anthony Fauci, continues to predict we will have a safe and effective vaccine by spring, and I trust him. The acceptance stage.
Soon there will be holiday lights to lift my spirits, when I cannot celebrate the season as I usually do. But I can do whatever it takes, a bit longer, because I know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
You can too! Wear a mask, wash your hands, socially distance — and vote!
— Susan Kutchin Pallant, Chicago