“Faith, are you home?” asked my sister, Kiersten.
“No, I’m at Kroger, what’s up?”
“Nothing. Just call me when you get home.” The sound of her voice set in a new sort of panic.
“What’s wrong? Just tell me…”
I pulled into the back of that Kroger parking lot as my sister described to me that my precious 90 year old Grandmother had started to decline. What started as a trip to the ER for oxygen, turn into pneumonia and a 2nd dance with COVID19.
I went through this season praying that I wouldn’t have to say goodbye to a loved one because of COVID.
I stayed vigilant- wearing my mask, keeping my trips short, washing my hands and making sure myself and my family kept exposure as low as humanely possible. Never did I think, given that my extended family was the same, that we would have to attend a funeral for a loved one because of COVID.
Sure, we can focus on all of the positives of this season; new friends, new hobbies and for some of us, finding our new passions and second chances. One day, I will write about that, but, when you are trying to read 1 Corinthians 13 through tears to your loved one over the phone during their last days, all of that good seems to drift away.
I will take a moment to just highlight how I grieved during this time.
COVID19 has made it easy for a person to have privacy. This was all I wanted when I found out my grandmother was declining. The days that followed included tears, fits of rage, crying out to God, zero interest in absolutely anything and trying to keep my mind busy. Grief has 5 stages (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) and I flew through those all day after day, on-top of learning how to manage my own depression and anxiety.
Here is a list of things that kept my mind busy; cooking new meals, watching funny shows on Netflix (Last Man Standing has me rolling with laughter), Tik-Tok (believe it or not I’m not too old for it!), talking with friends, seeing a therapist, and taking walks with my daughter. I did everything that took my mind off of the inevitable. I did everything I could to take my mind off of the political climate that was surrounding COVID19. At the end of the day, people were dying alone and families were losing loved ones. I am so incredibly thankful for our medical professionals who are at the bedside for our loved ones, holding their hands and giving them peace when we can’t. We owe them a great debt.
Loss isn’t ever on anyone’s to-do list.
We go through our day to day never giving death another thought. I would say that it was certainly in the back of my mind until COVID started to make its way into my every day.
The very fact that 3 of my family members have lost their lives during this season (not necessarily all due to the pandemic), has given me a very appropriate response to others dealing with loss. It’s not, ‘i’m sorry’ or any other set of comforting words, it has simply become ‘this sucks’, ‘let me bring you a meal’ and ‘you are in my prayers’. Because for me, prayer has been my bread and butter.
I hope that as you have read this, that you take away a few very important things; call your grandparents. Call those that are alone. Be kind to those you encounter. And always, always, always say I love you. What a privilege it was to hear it said back to me that last time.