• Louise Carnachan

Mad or Sad?


I’m tired of having my wings clipped. I’m out of sorts—and then I get mad at myself for being so selfish. Then I get sad about the numbers and such terrible loss.

Sadness is another stage of grief. The sensations of mourning don’t line up in linear fashion, nor are they mutually exclusive. We can bounce around the cycle or play several feelings at once like a chord. Personally, I toggle between sad and mad (a surrogate for fear): how long will this go on, will I get it, will I lose people I love, will my retirement savings be sufficient, will life ever be the same? The answers: “Who knows” times four, and “Probably not.”

No thinking person is immune to the emotions of this time. There’s the comparison to 9/11, an event that defined an entire generation. For those who were adults in 2000, there’s current familiarity with unrelenting news cycles, uncertainty, quiet streets, and less air traffic. We shared grief (then and now) over lost lives, and a sense of a violated security we didn’t even know we had. This time, though, it’s happening to the entire human family. Borders are meaningless to COVID-19; we really do belong to each other.

Many of us admit that personal, social, and environmental change was overdue. But dang, we resent having our backs up against the wall, even though extreme discomfort leads to transformation. (You know the analogy regarding change that talks about the caterpillar becoming a butterfly? We’re in the goo stage.) Fortunately, we’re a particularly resilient species. We’ve already begun to adapt to a new normal.

I was heartened to read a story from the futurist, Brian David Johnson, about speaking with one of his eighteen-year-old college students. They were discussing the terrible, deadly years of the AIDS epidemic. Shocked, the young man said, “You can die from AIDS?” Not in the US during his lifetime. Things do improve. Look for those stories of hope.

How do you think we’ll be better as a result of this pandemic? Please comment in the box below.

Sending you appropriately physically distanced encouragement—and the wish that you get a surprise treat!

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© 2020 Louise Carnachan.

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