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Loss, Acceptance and Action During COVID-19

March 31, 2020

As I’ve been talking with patients, family and friends online over the past 2 weeks, I’ve come to realize we are all experiencing loss of some kind, both individually and collectively.  We have a shared experience that as of March 2020, our world has changed.  This looks different for everyone: canceled vacation and travel plans, what a family member’s graduation, wedding, or funeral would be like, or what we expected a pregnancy and the birth of a child to be.  In the Philadelphia region, last Thursday would have been Opening Day for the Phillies and Rita’s Water Ice would have already opened.  There is some extent of grieving that will need to take place around all of that. We know that grief is non-linear and different for everyone. Some days are better than others. Some hours are better than others.  Acknowledging the grief can allow us to be deliberate about finding our own support system.  We may also find it stirs up feelings from previous experiences with grief.

This recent article, in the Harvard Business Review, goes into more detail about grief and captures these ideas beautifully.  It talks about grief on a micro and macro level, collective grief and anticipatory grief.  It outlines the stages of grief and states “Acceptance is where the power lies.”  We can find what is within our control and start there.


We are finding comfort in the pieces of our lives that have remained constant.  Things are not going according to plan. And yet we are still eating and sleeping as best we can, we are seeking help when we need it, we are leaning on one another, we are still learning, and the spring flowers are still blooming.  And we can do more.  We can learn to work online, discover the power of symbolic play with our kids, pay more attention to nature and the world around us, try or continue mindfulness, meditation or yoga, re-organize that room, get our creative juices flowing.  We can take comfort in the people around us who build us up, and extend patience to those who have frustrated or disappointed us.  We should try to extend that same patience to ourselves when possible.

We can all continue to do our part by staying home, practicing social distancing, and donating masks and medical supplies to healthcare workers on the front lines fighting against COVID-19 and working to keep us safe. It is making a difference.  We are all in this together.