We have all received the news by now--"School is closed for the remainder of the year.” If you haven’t already heard these unprecedented, shocking and heartbreaking words yet, I am sure they are coming to a newsfeed, timeline, text message, robocall, near you soon. On my timeline and IG feed, I have seen emotions going through all of the phases of mourning.
Stage 1: DESPERATE FOR ANSWERS.
Parents, teachers, and students alike are all looking for answers and solutions as to what we should do during this time of our lives being interrupted. I have even called many of my well-respected friends and asked them, “Is it time for me to panic yet?” This invisible bullet is so hard to understand and so hard to wrap our heads around that even I am in search of answers every day or at least some hint of answers...will we really be allowed to go back to school in August? What will summer look like? Will we have virtual camps? What about the graduates? Should we just forget about it all?
Stage 2: DENIAL
I found myself still mentally preparing for going back to school after this week’s spring break ends. I have been postponing my need to grieve the school closings with a hope that we will be returning to life as we once knew it. I have just begun receiving messages and calls from parents three weeks after the school closures who have just let it sink in that we will not be returning.
Stages 3 and 4: BARGAINING AND ANGER
These two have kind of come in a comical form since it is primarily coming from the parents’ side. We have all seen the memes and videos of parents asking the teachers to come and get “their” kids. We are all angry and disappointed that we are not able to leave our homes, to go to our schools, go to restaurants, churches, sporting events, etc. I know that there are some people who are angry that their graduation or milestone year will not be celebrated in the way that they had hoped. I give you permission to express this frustration and anger. This is not by any means a normal situation and it is okay to be angry about it. Just remember: this too shall pass. We will be able to celebrate again. Get creative! Celebrate and connect; live in the present. Zoom parties are really and truly a real thing now!
Stage 5: REDIRECTED HOPE
I am praying that this is the stage that we are all currently approaching or are in...there are so many reasons that we can be hopeful. We are not in this alone. Reach out and connect with people who are in your circle. FaceTime them; the face to face will give you life! Find something to be grateful for, begin a gratitude journal; start with the little things. I know that I am realizing things that I have taken for granted; but I am also noticing things that I am grateful for right here in my own home that have been overlooked. There is ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, something to be grateful for!!!!