COVID19 life

Day 12: Hodge Podge

March 27, 2020

First, I wanted to share this link: That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief — shared in the comments by reader L (a nurse) yesterday. It definitely hit home for me, and somehow made me feel a bit better.

Yesterday I looked at the page of 2020 travel that I had so hopefully put together. As the new year rolled in, we were in a better place financially (having finally sold our house!) and G was past the hardest phase of toddlerhood, and therefore SO many fun trips were supposed to happen this year! It is both bizarre and sad to now have no idea if any of the adventures I had dreamed about (and in many cases, already booked!) will take place.

Remember two weeks ago when it was like “travel HERE won’t work, but you can still do X” and then, day by day, X was no longer an option. Nor Y. Nor Z. Nor really much at all. I am now very hesitant to comfort myself with thoughts like “at least we can go to Disney in December for G’s birthday” because you know what? WHO KNOWS!?

I know that this is tempoarary. But not knowing how temporary is hard. And there’s the sad reality that we will never get these days / weeks / months back. Big milestone dates will pass never to return, and without much fanfare because it just isn’t possible. My 40th birthday (May). Maybe kindergarten “graduation” (early June). Possibly even G turning 3, as noted above (December, ugh, please no!). My parents are 70 + 71; when will it be safe to visit them again!? Grief is a strong word, but I don’t think it’s inappropriate.

I recognize that I (and many others reading this) are incredibly privileged to live in a place and time where we just haven’t dealt with this kind of uncertainty and loss before. I do remember tiny echoes of this from 9/11, when I laid awake at night mourning the loss of the (perhaps naive) feeling of safety and security I previously took for granted. But — since I was watching the events unfold while nestled in a tiny mountain town, 9/11 didn’t truly feel as close or as personal.

Things I can still count on and look forward to right now:

  • Outdoor walks with the kids
  • Beachbody workouts (12 days into 21 Day Fix!)
  • Morning coffee
  • Evening ice cream or chocolate
  • Books & TV
  • Journaling & experimenting with the FF Planner
  • Headspace app
  • Reading to G
  • Episodes from my favorite podcasts
she is not peddling just sitting there and thinks she is riding like the big kids. It is her new favorite thing.
The big kids got letters from their grandparents!


  • Reply Janelle March 27, 2020 at 7:45 am

    My daughter ‘pedals’ the same way 😊. I completely understand how hard it is to have all those plans gone, with no date of when things will return to normal. We had to cancel my 2 year olds birthday party with family- luckily 2 year olds are pretty clueless, but we all miss our family. And after a pretty hard few months (we were actually quite housebound for February other than work for me) I was really looking forward to a few day trips and one night away with my girls. Now all of that is on hold. And my sister works in the ICU directly with many COVID patients- who knows when we’ll see her again.
    I know we’re very lucky. We’re all healthy, my girls are adjusting really well to the new normal and we aren’t impacted financially by COVID. But it’s still okay to be sad about plans that have been lost.

  • Reply A. March 27, 2020 at 8:17 am

    Everybody will have to postpone, live differently, worry, some more, some less, but in the long run, the only important thing in the moment is health/stay healthy. And reflect. Naomi Klein said « “Normal” was a crisis ». It can be understood in different ways… Like slowdown everything should have been done long time ago; like none of this would have happened if there weren’t so many trips like going to a coffee shop on the corner. It was ALL travel transmission before it began to be local transmission. We will have to reinvent the new normal. Find joy in degrowth/downsizing. There is probably less grief for people who own nothing else than their health… Just a thought.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 27, 2020 at 8:25 am

      That’s a beautiful perspective. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Reply gwinne March 27, 2020 at 9:07 am

    I haven’t read that essay yet (thanks for sharing!) but I do think it is (at least a form of) grief. Also strange how I think it’s paired with something like guilt. Like, I am simultaneously incredibly grateful for the ‘privilege” (a word I don’t like) of staying home, having a paying job while I do so, spending time with my children, having enough food, etc. But also, this SUCKS. Not just the loss of experiences anticipated but also the loss of meaningful work time (which for me does translate to a financial loss). That’s a hard combo. I suspect many of us in the ‘professional-managerial’ class are experiencing it.

  • Reply gwinne March 27, 2020 at 9:16 am

    Apologies if this appears twice. I wrote a comment and it hasn’t appeared.

    In any case, thanks for sharing the link. I do think it’s a form of grief, and also paired with guilt, at least for me. Like, I acknowledge that I have an incredible amount of ‘privilege’ (a word I don’t like) to be able to stay home, to have a job that pays while I do so, to have healthy kids, to have enough food, etc. I could go on and on. But still this SUCKS, and it’s not just a loss of experiences and lifestyle but also loss for me of opportunity to do meaningful work which does in fact translate into financial loss (can’t go up for promotion, etc). I’m spiraling through this odd emotional pair. Sounds like you have your own version going….

  • Reply Ana March 27, 2020 at 9:28 am

    Thanks for sharing that article, I’d missed it somehow and I do relate. And the stuff at the end about being present, feeling your feelings, etc… is exactly what my therapist is always telling me. My post today is pretty much the same.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 27, 2020 at 10:11 am

      We were on super parallel tracks this AM!

  • Reply Marina Breed March 27, 2020 at 10:18 am

    That article really resonated with me too. Yes, I know we’re more fortunate than most with our health, money, house, etc. but there is still a lot of grief. Grief that we can’t work like we imagined, with good childcare in place. Grief that our jobs, which were going pretty well, might be in jeopardy. Grief that there are entire industries that will be wiped out now along with many job losses. We didn’t have too many vacations planned (still in that tough toddler stage!) but grief that we can’t plan for much at all now, even in the summer. Grief that grandparents can’t see their families. Even grief that we can’t stroll around Target/the mall like normal! I think it’s important to acknowledge these feelings, even with all the good things that might come out (like seeing kids more, connecting with friends and coworkers virtually). This is not the life we planned and that expected life is gone.

    BTW, I’m enjoying your daily posts and I hope you keep them up.

  • Reply CBS March 27, 2020 at 10:57 am

    It is definitely grief. I read something on twitter about fatigue being a sign of collective trauma which rings true for me.

    On a lighter note, G might like the micro scooter with the seat. We pulled my son around on it for ages before he figured out pushing himself.

  • Reply omdg March 27, 2020 at 11:10 am

    I know I’m in the minority, but I’m finding the respite from having to plan everything all the time incredibly restorative. I missed going to San Diego for spring break, but… I didn’t have to come up with activities every day that everyone in the house found fun, stand in line in airports, or spend too much money on restaurant food. I have huge uncertainty about the future — now becoming a grant funded independent investigator sounds waaaaaayyyy less likely. But no sense stressing about it because NIH funding isn’t something I have a lot of control over. I am just looking forward to moving and starting fresh at a new institution with all the challenges that will hold for me as well. If I die before that, well, it won’t matter anyway because I will be dead.

  • Reply Emma March 27, 2020 at 12:13 pm

    My husband’s 40th was last week–we just said it had to be postponed to 2021 so we celebrated 39 again and will have a big “40th postponed” next year. Obviously a joke in dark times, but hey only 1980 babies will get to have “40th postponed parties” :-).

  • Reply Jenn March 27, 2020 at 12:57 pm

    Yes, it’s such an interesting time with so much uncertainty…at the beginning of all of this my mindset was very much self-pity (and I still have to fight against that) – going stir-crazy and expecting our first kiddo at the beginning of April and mourning the fact that we wouldn’t be able to have visitors to greet baby or as much help as we originally anticipated. Worrying about grocery store supply and finances. Then my hubby got sick last week (we are waiting on the coronavirus test results) and his 96-year old grandma fell and broke her hip and is now in the hospital…hubby missing baby boy’s birth/first few days of his life and grandma passing away and not being able to have a funeral for her to properly mourn are very real possibilities. I’m not writing this to minimize anyone’s grief as I think no matter what you are going through, the mental health side of this is incredibly difficult, and everyone has a different battle they’re fighting, whether that’s having a bunch of kiddos at home or working in health care or grocery stores, but I do want to encourage people – if you can hug a quarantine buddy close, if your family members are still healthy, if you can go for a walk in your neighbourhood or have the next meal stocked in your fridge, these are all things for which we can have gratitude. This is something I have to tell myself too: I know my situation could be a lot worse, and that whether it takes weeks or months or years this will eventually pass. Hope this comment didn’t come off as too preachy – but I wish someone had told me a week and a half ago to really appreciate things instead of focusing on the negative, as hard as that is in this crazy, wild time. Don’t get me wrong, I still cry once a day, but I’m trying to do that now!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 27, 2020 at 1:34 pm

      I think acknowledging the grief is needed and okay at any level but I also think recognizing privelige is important and savoring the good things. Maybe I’ll start a little “3 good things” section during this series 🙂

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 27, 2020 at 1:34 pm

      And it didn’t come off as preach at all – great comment and food for thought.

      • Reply Jenn March 27, 2020 at 5:17 pm

        Thanks Sarah, I love the idea of a little gratitude section – maybe will join you in the comments! 🙂

    • Reply omdg March 27, 2020 at 1:46 pm

      You’re going through a really tough spot! It’s going to suck but you will get through it. *hugs*

      • Reply Jenn March 27, 2020 at 5:18 pm

        Thank you! We’ll all get through this together 🙂

  • Reply Sarah K March 27, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    I love vacation planning- it is almost like a hobby- and I had already planned and paid for in part or in whole- for three international trips this year. One in a month (will surely be cancelled), one this summer (for a wedding, who knows what will happen?), and one in the fall.
    It is so hard to live with the uncertainty. And now it feels like a little bit of “punishment” to be such a plan-ahead type, as maybe all these travel deposits and plane tx will be wasted.
    I am really appreciating your blog posts. I am in primary care and had my first day of mainly video consults today. I didn’t really like it but the technology was fine.

    • Reply Jara March 27, 2020 at 10:20 pm

      I feel this. I had planned and partially paid for two big trips and one road trip. I was supposed to leave for my first big trip in a few days (already canceled) and my other two are back-to-back at the end of May (will probably both be canceled). I know I can technically always go later, but between research hours, medical school, and studying for boards, I know the next few years won’t have as much travel time as I’d like so I was trying to make the most of a few well-timed breaks I had this year.

  • Reply Sara March 27, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    Although also very privileged and grateful to still have my job and relative financial security, I’m definitely grieving for real things that I’ve lost. I’m a few weeks from my third and final baby and I expected this time to be full of joyful anticipation of a new baby as well as really enjoying relaxed time with my two “big” kids before a baby changes everything. Instead of happy nesting I’m doing my full time job from home supporting a facility which will not close (which includes working in advance for my maternity leave), homeschooling my kids, and keeping everyone happy and fed while worrying if it’s safe to eat the strawberries I got in my grocery pickup order. My husband is so far not allowed to work from home so I’m worrying he’ll get the rest of us sick. I’m grieving that my 74 year old parents will never get to know this baby as a newborn because the only way for them to truly stay safe is to self isolate for 4 months. I’m worried the baby and I will catch the virus in the hospital and my newborn will become seriously ill. I’m grieving that the joy I felt about this pregnancy has been overshadowed by fear and worry not just for my family but for all the small business owners and employees who financially will not recover from this. The grief is real.

  • Reply Kaethe March 27, 2020 at 4:13 pm

    So much grieving! My oldest is in 8th grade and her school has many 8th grade traditions that she was looking forward to that she will likely miss. She’ll also be attending a different high school than most of her friends and really, she won’t get these precious few weeks (months?) of time back with them. I also really feel for high school seniors right now that will miss the important rites of passage. And their parents who are trying to help them cope with all of this!

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