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Lament in the Time of COVID Author: Jane Burns, LPC

Darkness seemed to have fallen on Easter this year. All the typical activities have changed. This was difficult for all, but even more for the older adults. These are the folks who often are the ones who have hosted the gatherings or have been central guests at family occasions. It was a time to lament what was lost, even though it was only for one holiday. Easter came and went; the change of plans was managed. Actually, older adults soldiered on. This is the group who remembers bomb drills, the pandemic of 1957, childhood diseases with no vaccinations, summers with no swimming because of polio concerns, and the many other losses that are part of living. Older adults have risen to the occasion even as they lamented the losses. Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays will be different this year too. Many are tired of zoom celebrations and not hugging family and friends. The grandparents are missing the grandkids. Some have lost loved ones during this COVID year. They have attended Zoom funerals and memorials as well as Zoom graduations and weddings. As a therapist, I have seen fear, anxiety, anger, denial, frustration, grief and blaming. I have also seen courage, flexibility, humor, strength, kindness, resourcefulness, hope and the spirit of community. Older adults, like everyone else, have pandemic fatigue and are weary of the last nine months of various types of isolation. There is a prominent lament but I also see the hope that this will end. There may be a new normal as we move ahead. This new normal will come with some additional adjustments but it will also come with close up human contact. The older adult group with renewed gratefulness will let the feeling of lament fade into the background. It will again a time to celebrate in person.

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