Grief in the Time of COVID


May 3, 2020 by readlisaread

I fear this is going to be a somewhat disjointed piece today, gentle reader.  I am entering my third month of COVID-isolation.  I work from home, I restrict my shopping to once a week, although occasionally I have to make a second trip out.  I see my children once a week, from the approved hockey-stick distance.  No hugging. But still laughing.

I walk outside almost everyday, sometimes twice a day if it’s been a tough one.  But please don’t get the idea that my fitness level is improving at a measurable rate.  Because I cook (and eat) every day as well. And drink. And joke with my friends about gaining the COVID-19-15.  One of my friends said in her case it was more like “the COVID-19-20,” as the 15 was for Freshmen.

I cry a lot of days, too, though not nearly as much as in the beginning of the lockdown.  But the last time tears broke through, I got to thinking about grief. I was walking around the downtown area– I live in a small town, so “DownTown” is about 4 blocks square.  And every business I passed was either completely shuttered or had a sign explaining drastically reduced hours, and only for pick up or delivery purposes.  Stores, restaurants, my favourite lounge, my favourite bar, Salons, the movie theatre.  It was so foreign, yet there was something familiar about it also… and I realized the connection I was making.  I was wandering up and down the streets of the town I grew up in, objectively reflecting on the businesses and services behind the locked doors, sometimes remembering a different interior, a bygone tenant, the hardware store that moved out of downtown when malls and big-box stores appeared on the sides of the highway leading out of town. Or the butcher shop that used to be the only one in town, now gone for more than a generation. And it made me think that THIS must have been how it felt in the American Midwest in the 2007-2008.  And this must have been how it felt in the 1930’s, during the Great Depression.  The only difference being…. THE difference being…. you could hug your loved ones… you could kiss your friend on the cheek…

And while I am hopeful that this blip in our history will not destroy life as I know it, I am also hopeful that we learn from it.

I want to hug my friends.  And my God how I want to hug my children. I want to go on dates again (having only recently found myself single, Dating was a whole new…and too short… chapter in my life), I want to go to work, and punch nerdlings in the arm. I want to cook brunch for my kids.  I want to have a dinner party in my tiny apartment, and channel Audry Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.

And then I slap myself, and say things in my head like “Anne Frank” and “Nelson Mandela” and “The Blitz” and “Ebola”.

Things that used to make me explode in anger or frustration now don’t even register, but are replaced by things that once seemed infinitesimal, now magnified like a virus under a super-power magnifying glass.

Ha. Yeah. A virus.  Almost the tiniest thing imaginable, holding us all hostage.

We grieve our loss, we grieve what could have been, we grieve things we can’t imagine, but are sure we are missing.

But if you toe the line with me, I know we will meet again.  And I will hug you when it is safe.  Count on it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What are you searching for?

Wait…what did you say again?

Skip to toolbar