This past week has been a tough one for me. Coronavirus blues seem to have finally kicked in, mixing with these inexplicable waves of guilt, unprecedented fear, and sadness I can’t quite pinpoint the cause of. This weekend, my sister said something in passing that really made me think. We are all – in these intense, unruly times – grieving. We are grieving for the people we can’t physically be around, for the lives that have been taken by this virus, for the way of life we used to lead and aren’t now sure we can go back to.
Grief is famous for coming in five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. While we each deal with grief differently, while we all go through these five stages in different orders and at different stages, we still all go through it. Those people who are standing on the streets in defiance, ignoring social distancing rules and giving each other giant hugs, are grieving. They’re at their anger stage. Those who have adapted, who are getting up every morning with a smile on their face and getting on with their day, are in the acceptance stage.
I’m circling the depression stage, like many are. The walls are closing in, I’m losing the motivation to do anything. If I had it my way, I’d stay in bed until this nightmare is over. But the beauty of this stage, just like denial, anger and bargaining, is that it will end. We’ll get through it. This grief filling us all now is bigger than anything most of us have ever experienced, and hopefully will ever feel again, but that acceptance stage is close. We may get to it and then find ourselves side-tracked by another stage the following day, the following week, but the aim is to get to it and stick with it.
So, go through the motions, friends. There’s no right or wrong stage to be at. There’s no time limit on each stage. There’s no rule saying you can’t go backwards and forwards and reexperience stages you’ve already visited. Do what you need to do to keep your head above water. Just remember to be safe, be respectful, and be kind.