Good Grief 

Buttocks bruised from three days of driving, we arrived in our Colorado home in a semi-hypnotic trance. Gingerly, stepping out of the car on feet and ankles that seemed surprised to support us after a surfeit of sitting, we reached for the cats reviving from their sedated slumber. Discounting the new fence, extended deck, custom planters, everything was the same as we had left it and, in another sense, nothing was the same.

Covid19 is the culprit.

We’d traveled the safest route, with the minimum of stops, researching the cleanest hotels, rinsing our hands raw with hand sanitizer and donning soul smudging masks. After a recovery period when the new cat ricocheted around the house, smashing photo frames and climbing the blinds, to mark her delight in being released from her cat carrier, bandit bedecked, we strolled into town. 


Encircled with mountains, bordered by a rambunctious river and graced by (as we later found out), geranium guzzling deer, the town was as lovely as ever.

Yet it made me sad.

Last year there were parades, festivals, car shows, a farmer’s market, competitions on the river and up the mountains, a circus troupe, street performers and music in the park.  Last year it was a vital, energetic place. 

This year, the town is muffled, subdued, quiet.

The Covid outbreak stole the lives of several who lived in the local nursing home.  At the same time, it stole the town’s exuberant self-confidence and optimism.  It’s such a harrowing time when we suspect other people (and ourselves) to be toxic.

If it is true, as the Pete Seeger song (quoting Ecclesiastes) has it, “To every time there is a season”, this is our season of loss and grief.  Amidst these bleak times, Chris and I still treasure a kernel of relief and gratitude that we didn’t lose anyone in our families to date; families that include silken skinned newborns and the crepey, wrinkled skins of those who survived war, disease and disaster.  Notwithstanding this good fortune, like everyone else, there have been losses.

Braced by a wonderful partner – who for this blog’s purposes I will call Rhonda, (as a Salt Spray and Aspens reader she most likely will get a twinkle in her eye at that name), – braced by Rhonda, I used to facilitate a program on emotional awareness in a local prison.  Amongst the topics we covered were loss and grief. We’d perform a little role play written by Rhonda whose writing skills were only surpassed by her acting.  It featured a woman who had “stuffed” her grief:  she had retreated into herself and become seriously depressed.  As Rhonda’s character began to cry, the inmates often came forward to comfort her!  Ignoring grief, pretending it’s not there because it’s not as devastating as that of others isn’t a good idea.

I deal with my Covid grief and loss by making the ceilings shake as I practice yoga in the tiny guest bedroom, where my arms crash against the closets and I wobble onto the bed, –  and by heaving a mountain of rocks around the yard. The pounds are slipping off Chris as he works through his losses doing heavy yardwork and, at times, he sings up a storm!

Let’s hope we can all find a way to honor and grieve these Covid times.


End Notes

We’ve been reading


Hot Milk – Deborah Levy


Just Mercy – Bryan Stevenson

Audio book we listened to on our travels

A Taste for Death – P.D. James

Recently we listened to:

Enjoy the virtual choir Chris is a part of Mass:  A Celebration of Love and Joy  Andre J Thomas

In This Healing time  John Denver

Chris sings in Jeremy Mimm’s virtual choir. Enjoy!

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