It seems every day we are learning new things about our world, and ourselves as we trudge through the days of this pandemic. 

We are learning about possible cures, potential vaccines, how to flatten the curve, what social distancing is really like, and unfortunately each day we learn how many we’ve lost due to this virus.  

One thing I learned this past week is how many of us are dealing with COVID-19 like we are dealing with grief.

One thing I learned this past week is how many of us are dealing with COVID-19 like we are dealing with grief.

I think all of us could list certain freedoms and pleasures that we’ve lost that we are grieving.  The freedom to do what we want, the independence to go into stores and take our time, the peace of mind we used to have when we’d encounter someone and think of shaking their hand or talking face to face.  For many of us we’ve lost out on graduations, proms, weddings, and even travel plans that were made months ago. We could even list all of the sporting events and concerts we’ve had to miss because of this shut down. And for many of us we are grieving what this has done to us. 

Let me ask you this question: When it comes how you are dealing with COVID 19, what stage of grief are you in?

  • Denial: This won’t affect me. 
  • Anger: I can’t believe I have to stay home!
  • Bargaining: Ok, I’ll wear a mask, but I’m not staying in.
  • Sadness: When will this ever end?
  • Acceptance: I have to figure out a new normal. 

As a leader of a church, I’ve had to work through each of those… each one taking several days culminating in a few weeks ago giving in to the idea that Easter would only be online.  But what I read in a Harvard Business Review article about grief is there is now a 6th stage of grief when it comes to COVID. Anticipatory Grief. I grieve what might happen next.

This is different than most anything we’ve ever faced.  It’s not over yet. So we wait. Wondering when it will end, when we will feel safe, and how bad the world will look when we climb out of our shelters we call home.  Maybe that’s where you are today.

One solution for whatever stage of grief you are in. Don’t avoid it. Talk about it.  

Ask your neighbor across the street when you are walking (six feet apart of course): “How are you doing… really?”

When someone asks you on a zoom call “How are you?” Be honest.  You don’t have to talk for 30 minutes. But you can simply tell them the grief stage you are in.  

When you are tempted to zone out and just watch Netflix until sleep comes, invite some friends to join you… and talk about how you are doing.

And when you are watching a church service on the weekend, just don’t “download content’.  Engage in the chat room. Join a group. Find ways to help others. 

Social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation. One will help. The other only hurts.

To find out more about joining an online community group through Real Life Church Ministries, click HERE

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