Hospice Spirit

June 11, 2020

The sun is slowly breaking through the clouds. We are seeing signs of normal opening up again. Of course it is the “new normal”.  We don’t know quite yet how the virus will look in a few months and there are possibilities of a second wave.  So how do we proceed…? It will vary depending on your personal comfort. We will notice others either more or less cautious, with varying degrees of anxiety and varying perspective as to proper protocol. I think the key is going forward with patience and leading with love. Here at the residence we have procedures that we must follow according to public health guidelines. At the same time we know what a profound and difficult place our residents and their families are in when they come to us, so in all our instructions about hand-hygiene, screening and mask wearing, we lead with gentle compassion. Similarly, out in the world we need to be gentle with one another and with ourselves.

I read a great article this week (the link is below) by Ashley Abramson in the online Forge magazine called, “Get Ready for the Reentry Crash.”  The article highlights that after a time of prolonged acute stress, it is natural for people to feel a sudden crash in their energy levels.  Perhaps you have experienced this feeling. Another reality is that some people react to a crisis with an immediate grief response, while others will gather their resolve to get through and feel the grief reactions after the crisis has diminished. We are all different in how we respond to life-altering events, so this is an important time to reflect on your own feelings and energy level and be aware of those around you and how they are coping. The article gives some good suggestions as to how to help ourselves and others through this re-adjustment time. We are all adjusting to a new way of being and the experiences have changed us in many ways.

Perhaps you have already had time to ponder how the slower pace of life and restrictions have affected your view of life and your priorities. Or perhaps now you might have that opportunity to reflect as you begin to step back into those activities that had been temporarily removed from your life. In any case, this shift to a new normal makes us aware of the changes we have undergone.   Especially recently with the protests for equality that have emerged with new energy, we recognize that a time of crisis can create a new awareness of the current state of life and its imbalances and a new vision for the future.  In all cases, we will need to find ways of readjusting to the new norms as they come. What have you learned about yourself during this experience? What have you missed the most?  What have you begun to do that you want to continue?  What about your “old way of life” will you decide to do without?  What do you need to take care of that was put on hold while you were in quarantine? What will you do right away and what will you wait on for a little bit?

As this new time emerges, be patient with yourself and be aware that as exciting as it is to think about coming out from this state of crisis, the aspects of grief we experience with a loss of a loved one can be paralleled to what we have experienced with the pandemic. States of disbelief, loneliness, guilt and anger, sadness, adjustment and finally reorganizing will be very real for people at this time. So give yourself space to reflect, be caring with those around you, and find ways to be inspired and encouraged. We are moving from a place of simply “surviving” from day to day in a challenging circumstance to “thriving” once again. Perhaps you have already had the experience of thriving in the midst of this pandemic in certain respects, but perhaps you have merely been surviving until “normal” returns. Perhaps you will be grieving the slower pace you have found. No matter your perspective and personal experience, have courage and believe that the future will be bright. Hope begins in the darkness, believing the light will come.

“Get Ready for the Reentry Crash” https://forge.medium.com/get-ready-for-the-reentry-crash-cae842bf80e8

Additional resource in understanding our grief reactions after a life-altering event: The Grieving Wheel https://hospiceyukon.net/l_g_wheel.html

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