“If nothing else, sheltering in place gives me a lot of time to think. As I maneuver through these unprecedented times, I have been filled with an abundance of contradictory information about our new invisible enemy,” writes Nolan Ahn in a touching piece published in The Garden Island. Nolan goes on to say:
• I have been told to fear the enemy, and to fight by running away from it.
• I have been told to hunker down with loved ones, but to keep a distance from them.
• I have been told that “We are all in this together” and have seen that some are only in this for themselves.
• I have been told to follow the edicts of elected leaders that do not know how to lead, much less where to lead us to.
Out of all the confusion, one thing has become clear to me. The world that I once knew is dead. It was killed not by the virus, but by our fear of the virus. I do not minimize that the virus was the primary cause of death of almost 100,000 people in the United States to date. But it comes to mind that death has always been around, and no other causes of death have been so effective in changing the world we live in as much as COVID (I refuse to capitalize it) has. Neither wars, nor famines, nor (past) pestilence have affected our entire planet as much. I, for one, am grieving the death of the way things were.
….So, I grieve the loss. The loss of handshakes, hugs and kisses, rough housing with the grandkids. Potlucks, picnics, cocktail parties, buffets, airplanes, airports, buses, cruise ships, sporting events, graduations, weddings, baby luaus, funerals, livelihoods, the economy. Dead. Killed by COVID.
…My Zoom friends tell me to focus on being grateful, rather than denying or being angry over my loss. While I appreciate their concern and love for me, I’m not there yet. I dared to love deeply, and therefore I grieve deeply. And I must fully feel all the stages of grief if I am ever to love again. Perhaps one day, I will find meaning in the loss.
But for today, I grieve.