During the past two months, we went through quarantine. To many of us, this spelled a drastic change in our lifestyles and, though we cringe when we utter it – isolation. Nevertheless, we found different ways to cope with the changes. We found cooking, baking, artworks, TikTok and SNS, whatever that was doable and we could put our hands on, we tried them.
Many have confessed that there’s this feeling of wanting to break down and cry all of a sudden. Some of us find it hard to sleep, while many are experiencing anxieties and deep sadness. I wondered too, what this is all about.
American author Gregg Braden said that the anxieties and the deep sadness that would suddenly come to us is actually a sign of grief. He says that our society is grieving, that we have just lost our old way of living and that we are on a threshold of something new. When we lose something that we can no longer get back, we go through a process of grieving and as one, we go through the known stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Depression, Bargaining, Acceptance (DADBA).
While I agree with Braden’s statements, I feel that as we go through it as one, we are in different phases simultaneously. And as with any types of grief, there is one thing that holds us together: the subtle and embracing warmth of the community. To many, this community comes in the form of friends and colleagues. Work will never be the same for us but aren’t we glad to be seeing them again online or physically with all the consideration of social distancing!
It is true, we will never be the same again. We are now asked to express our love in a different way than we have been used to. However, alongside this grieving, there is also a call to wakefulness. Are we succumbing to this new normal because we are being fueled with fear? If we can answer this honestly to ourselves, we can then see what else are the trappings of fear. If we are following the rules blindly, we can be verily susceptible to programs that those in power will impose upon us (ie. The government). For example, this idea of vaccines. While I have nothing against informed choices regarding vaccines, I’m wary this time of this proposition as if it’s the be-all and end-all of the virus.
Aside from this, there is a call to be watchful of our government implementing policies that curtail our freedom. Very recently the Anti-Terror Bill is being passed – all these while we, the people, are in frenzy for fear of catching the virus. Do you see now how someone (or a country) in a state of panic can easily be taken over?
What I’m saying is that we need to snap out from the state of panic and be brave enough to look at this pandemic in the eye and ask, “What are you trying to tell us?” COVID-19 has changed us; it has taken away what we have thought to be our comfort zone. It is asking us to wake up, to step back and look at it squarely while we grieve. It is asking us to be here and now. The answer to the call is always up to us. It would seem that so many things are going on instantaneously, but there are two major things that we are dealing with this time: Grief and Fear.
But what is it really that we fear about the virus that we are now starting to give away our own power? Let’s take back our power. The virus brought fear to us because it’s asking us to be brave. And so, even as we grieve for the loss of the old, let us be bold to face what is coming. As we grieve and transition to these new arrangements, let us not allow fear to take away easily what it has come to wrestle from us: our courage and our being.
Joan Mae Soco-Bantayan is a teacher at Tuburan Institute, Inc. She is also a wife and a mother of two. For questions and comments, feel free to drop her an e-mail at email@example.com or visit her Facebook page, Joan Mae Soco.
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