Greetings everyone. I was infected with the Covid-19 virus in early March. I have of course experienced all of the stress and the isolation that everyone of us have been dealing with, as well as the disease itself. I consider myself very fortunate because I did not require hospitalization. Some days were a bit worse than others, but overall my experience was much better than what many others have been dealing with. Following are some thoughts I had during those weeks that I would like to share. If they provide any comfort to anyone I would be very happy. Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this.
It is important, and even helpful for each of us to recognize how bad the impact of this can be on us, emotionally and spiritually and physically. As soon as this virus came upon us we have heard over and over again that it has a far greater impact on those of us with underlying health issues. Well, it also has a far greater impact on those of us with underlying emotional challenges. And all of us have some type of emotional challenges in our lives, so that applies to some extent to all of us, and to a greater extent to some of us.
Days before the September 11th anniversary coverage, where each of the names are read during the televised ceremony, I advise friends to really consider whether they need to watch that on TV. Each of us has enough of our own pain that day, so it may not be emotionally healthy to take on the pain of others, listening to name after name. I say that as one who lost my nephew Michael that day, and with all love and respect for each of the families who are suffering that pain.
Be careful what we expose ourselves to. On social media and on every news channel we have no choice but to be inundated with constant coverage, and almost always bad news about this crisis. But we do have control over how much of that we expose ourselves to. It can be as simple as turning the television off and switching to music, reading a book, FaceTiming with friends, going for a walk, etc.
Missed events? This requires some thought and considerable reflection. Here’s what works for me. For the last year I looked forward to one of the best vacations of my life, a trip with my children and grandchildren to Disney. February came, the amazing vacation happened, and now it will no longer be, but for the memory. It happened. It’s over. On to making new memories. Yes, so hurtful to miss birthdays, graduations and weddings. But eventually, each of those events that we are missing now would have wound up in our rearview mirror of life, and become memories. We will make new memories and we will have new events in our life that bring us joy. For example, take the birthday for the seven-year-old girl in Maryland, the “birthday parade”.
She was certainly disappointed to miss her birthday party, but look at what they did for her! It’s likely that for the rest of her life her most memorable birthday will be the party that she really couldn’t have.
Duality of feelings? Feeling such a loss of connection to people, loss of activities, fear of being sick, and those of us who came down with the virus, the unpleasantness or even worse, of being ill. We can access a perspective switch. As I said, I just came through the Coronavirus myself, and while I was sick I often thought of people who are overall unhealthy all throughout their lives, people with physical handicaps, chronic illnesses. To access this perspective takes practice, lots of practice, But it’s certainly worth the effort. And doing so will not only focus our attention from ourselves to others, but can bring us to a higher spiritual state of true empathy and love. And in our isolation, we can also access gratitude for all of the activities and connections we do have in our lives, those we had before this fell upon us, and those that we will have again. I found this video very helpful in that regard:
Our September 11th response was to connect with people. Well, almost 20 years later we find ourselves in a crisis without the ability to connect face-to-face, however, we have a great ability to compensate with social media and electronics. FaceTime dinners, chats with therapist, family members, and other virtual connections can fill some of that void.
The cliché, “This too shall pass”? Everything does and this certainly will. It is important to access how true that is in our lives. Remember when we were sick before? Death in the family? Bad break up? Other tough times in life? While we may still carry emotional scars, they did pass and we did get through them. As we draw on the love of each other, and our own humanity, we will certainly get through this, and somehow, even though this is so painful, we will be better off because of it.
Thank you, and stay safe and healthy, in mind, body and spirit.