In a time when social-distancing and avoiding others at all costs has become mandatory, how do we stay connected? Stay human? It seems that everywhere I look I see some reminder of the dreaded COVID-19 virus; not that working from home isn’t a constant reminder itself. There is nearly 24/7 coverage on the news stations, and what I miss from there can be found on various social media platforms and in the conversations I have with family and friends. It has become all-consuming, and unfortunately, a lot of “COVID talk” concerns the loss and the fears that we are experiencing as a human race. The biggest of these losses is without a doubt the lives that have been taken by the virus. Many of us don’t know someone directly who has died from the disease but what it triggers is the anticipatory loss of a loved one dying. While nothing can be compared to losing a loved one, there are other very real, yet ambiguous, losses that are impacting our society. Among those affected by these losses are high school seniors who won’t be able to have a traditional graduation or prom, pregnant women who may not have their support team present during delivery, those whose only form of socialization came from their work, and anyone who had a significant event coming up such as a wedding or birthday. Many others have been affected by COVID-19 that I have not listed, and they should not feel as though their grief is lesser. Every single person has been impacted by COVID 19 and their loss and reaction is real and valid. The question remains, how do we grieve these seemingly insignificant losses when others are losing their lives? A good place to start is to remember that not all loss is equal, and it doesn’t have to be. It is okay to mourn the important things that you don’t get to celebrate during this time. It’s important to allow yourself to feel how you are feeling and honor where you are instead of telling yourself you “shouldn’t” feel a certain way. Talking with a close friend, family member, or someone from your support network is another great place to start. Not only can doing this help you to feel supported and understood, but it also can help you to feel more connected in this time of social distancing and apparent disconnection.
Through these times of mourning and hardships, humans have come together to create a stronger sense of community in unique and unconventional ways. I have seen firsthand and through viral videos on social media the resilience and compassion that has manifested as a result of social distancing. A high school student was greeted by her father asking her to prom and shared a makeshift dance in their living room. A couple who had thought their baby shower would need to be canceled was surprised when their family and friends put on a drive-thru baby shower and left gifts in the couple’s driveway. A group of co-workers who had been working from home set up a brunch in a parking lot where they stayed in the back of their vans to catch up. With the help of her mother, a five-year-old girl made a “It’s my birthday! Honk to say happy birthday” sign and stood in her apartment complex. Within a few hours, there were cars honking, complete strangers singing happy birthday, and some were showering her with gifts.
Watching these real and raw acts of compassion and empathy has renewed my hope in humanity. These hard times have shown me that despite the division that can be found in our country and world, when push comes to shove, we will always find ways to rise up and conquer together. COVID 19 has brought to the surface the most important thing–we all need connection. We all value feeling important, special, and loved, and now more than ever we need to show up for each other. The stress and grief at times might not bring out the best in you or loved ones, but remembering the importance of connection is paramount. We are stronger together. We need each other now more than ever. This has changed us. Maybe for the better.
Here are some suggestions during this time:
As much as I hope these suggestions help, I also know and trust that you have the internal resources to get through this time. We are a resilient and resourceful race. I believe and trust that this is temporary and we will find our way back to another “new normal”.
This Post Written By:
Jordan Canady, LAMFT – Therapy With Heart
8737 E. Via De Commercio, Suite 200
Scottsdale, Arizona 85258
Phone: (480) 888-5380
Fax: (480) 203-2881