Are you familiar with the Kubler-Ross Grief Cycle? It’s more commonly known as the five stages of grief. After the initial shock of a situation wears off one tends to have the following five emotions: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Whether we want to admit it or not, I believe every single person in the United States if not the whole world is going through one of these phases right now. Hell, sometimes I think I go through all five phases in one day.
For me, the grief cycle started Thursday night, March 12. I was in denial this whole Covid-19 was a real concern. After all, it’s just a little virus like the flu. My kids were at school finishing up a week of testing. I had been to work that day and was furiously packing for a long-planned and anticipated Spring Break trip to Florida. Then the text messages started pouring in. Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando had closed. We were due to go to one of those parks. In anger, I immediately got on the phone to find out about a refund. It took me more than three hours and two different calls but I got a full refund minus the trip insurance I bought. Fun fact they keep your trip insurance payment, which was annoying. In an effort to bargain, I decided all would not be lost. On Friday, after I got my refund and got home from work, I decided to start looking for alternate places to go for Spring Break. I tried Silver Dollar City in the Ozarks; it was closed. I tried Dollywood in Pigeon Forge; it was closed. I tried Big Bend National Park. While open, there wasn’t a hotel to be found for 50 miles surrounding the park. Depressed, I realized we were stuck at home, where we have gotten rain nearly every day for 30 days straight. The last time we had a Spring Break this shitty was about six years ago when everyone in the family had either flu or strep. Finally, I accepted this was our lot and there wasn’t anything any of us could do about it.
This would be my first taste of this little cycle. In the past 11 days, the school has been canceled almost indefinitely and I’ve essentially lost my job as my workplace was deemed non-essential. It wasn’t much money but it was fun and it pays for little things like my daughter’s dance stuff, my son’s football, and our vacation. Thank God my husband still has his job and is currently working from home. I know many aren’t so lucky. School is evolving so we are home learning. Like everyone else, we can’t find a roll of toilet paper in the city. And, like a very large portion of the country, we are only allowed out of our house to go to the doctor or to get food. I’m an extroverted introvert by nature. I like to be alone but the same cannot be said for my kids. I mentioned to the hubs that I don’t know what will incite riots first, if the internet goes down or if grocery stores run out of food. I think the only thing sustaining most of us is streaming services and social media.
For each of the above issues, I’ve done a bit of the five stages. I am the Queen of the Work Around. I can figure out an alternate way to do just about anything. It may take longer than the preferred method, it may be super convoluted but I can make things happen. I rarely give up. There have been times in the past few days when I’ve realized the work around isn’t really a work around; it’s more like a pivot. Most days I flip between denial and bargaining and then go straight to acceptance. I guess that means the issue wasn’t worth the anger or the depression and maybe that’s a good thing.
How are you holding up? How have you had to go through these five stages of grief? Have you lost a job? Are the walls closing in? What are your coping mechanisms?
P.S. Don’t come at me with ‘people are dying and you’re worried about a vacation or your kid’s school’. I’m not an idiot. Yes, I know people are dying. Two in my household have underlying symptoms, one of those being poor lung function. I get the gravity of the whole situation, however, this is what I/we in my family are dealing with. And while it’s petty white people problems it still sucks. It sucks for everyone right now. If there is anything good about this virus it’s we are all united in our worry. Be safe.