Life in the Time of Corona Detail for W Florida Literary Federation

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Grieving Loss of Many Kinds

Grieving Loss of Many Kinds

John Gibson

“When someone dies, it is like when your house burns down; it isn’t for years that you realize the fullest extent of your loss.”

The above quote, attributed to Mark Twain, is directly referencing losing someone we care about. However, as I read it over and over again, I am reminded that grieving is something that applies to ANY loss that we may experience in life. It is therefore beneficial for us to think of it as something experienced when we lose aspects of our lives such as possessions (i.e. homes), or friendships, or even a sense of familiarity and routine. For many of us our “beach seasons” at places like Pensacola Beach and Navarre Beach have been disrupted, if not diminished completely, and this alone can cause a deep sense of grief.

And so perhaps it would benefit us to examine this last item for just a moment. Because lately, for many of us, we have found ourselves at odds with our loss of familiarity. We have experienced – and continue to experience – consternation over the fallout pertaining to COVID-19 and its impact on our world. We grieve over the fact that our routines, plans, and regular comings and goings have been put on hold by forces beyond our control.

Yes, for many of us, “grieving” is what we are experiencing, though we may not even realize it – because let’s face it - losing a vacation plan isn’t the same as losing someone we’re close to.

Still in all, many of us reacted with shock when we learned just how significant of an impact that the Coronavirus was going to have on our lives. We likely denied this reality for a time, and may have figured quietly to ourselves that “this too shall pass…and likely soon.” Some of us – perhaps most of us – reacted with anger when the reality finally began to sink in as to what COVID-19 meant for us. We may have found ourselves “bargaining” for a time. “If only I had taken care of ‘xyz’ thing before this whole thing hit.” Following this depression usually comes a deep sense of sadness or anxiety or other pronounced emotion as we began to realize, as with Twain’s house fire, just how deep a loss we were experiencing when it came to our lives. Maybe you’re still there, or maybe you’re gradually – ever so gradually! – moving into a place of acceptance and resolution. Maybe you’re coming to the realization that new experiences, routines, life lessons, and - perhaps best of all - new connections await you, as we move through this thing.

If you didn’t notice, the above paragraph is a descriptive outline of the five stages of grieving: shock/denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and resolution/acceptance.

Wherever you might find yourself on that continuum, please know that not only is it OK to grieve, but it also is necessary. We need to mourn what was lost, but we also need to ensure that we’re doing it with an eye toward our greater mental, physical, and spiritual health. As we process cancelled plans, activities, and the like, we must find other (healthy) coping strategies that will help see us through.

So my prayer for you is that you’ll do that; that you’ll look for ways to move forward in the midst of adversity.

Life in the Time of Corona

Within weeks after March 11, 2020 World Health Organization’s declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic, West Florida Literary Federation offered its writers a catharsis. By April, regional writers were submitting words and images to preserve this time in history. The ongoing project began with Phase I, a special edition of The Legend published in May. It featured more than thirty juried submissions. Life in the Time of Corona continues with Phase II, updated as submissions are accepted. Here are the voices of health care workers, poets, essayists, historians, and the images of artists and photographers, documenting this time in Northwest Florida's history. The ongoing project ends with the advent of a vaccine or declaration by the World Health Organization.

WFLF thanks its generous “You: The Writer" Foo Foo Festival Partners:

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