With Apologies to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

**Inspired by the brilliant women of my “book club”

Denial:  Waking up to the sound of rain, I wonder if the dog can wait just a bit longer.  Giving in to the inevitable, I make my way into the day, recalculating my plans given the extra hour I slept.  Dog outside, coffee brewing, youngest accommodated, I find my space on the couch and begin my “work” for the day.  Posting plans, answering emails, responding to student comments…I think I can figure out how to make this work for the next few weeks!  I schedule my zoom meetings, rework our family calendar to make space for all the zooming, and reach out to a few colleagues who have been heavy on my mind.   I head for another cup of coffee and to help wake the rest of the house so that we can all venture forth.

Anger:  I start to read some of the responses and feelings of frustration begin to build.  I am misunderstood.  I am not communicating well.  Messages are received, but ideas are lost.  What will happen if we don’t go back?  How will I do this for another month? Two?  Why can’t anyone give a straight answer?  One leader (and I use that term loosely) gives one version and another tells a different tale.  Fake news is a thing of the past; now we just have uncertainty and projections and apexes (is that the correct plural?) that roll and move.  How can no one know what is going on?  I am seething and there is no escape because I am locked inside and it is pouring rain.

Bargaining:   Heading to the basement to my faithful treadmill, I promise my kids time and attention.  Later.  I promise my husband time and attention.  Later.  Right now, I have to take care of myself.  If I take care of myself, I will be able to do this.  Whatever this is, I will be able to do it…if I take care of myself.  I know I’m not really trying to cut a deal with the universe, just with myself.  I walk and run and debate the many ways I can spend my time productively, the many silver linings that I can find in this whole catastrophe.

Depression:  I can’t.  I just can’t today.  The plans from early this morning make no sense.  Will the kids even see any of it?  And what about the kids we don’t reach…are they okay?  I have names running through my head, students that I would, on a normal day, make sure I got my eyes on at some point, to make sure they knew I was seeking them out.  But they don’t know.  And I don’t know.  It’s all a big unknown.  And, because I am going down this road, does any of it even matter?

Acceptance: I finish up yet another zoom meeting and then, almost immediately, call my co-teacher (who is also one of my closest friends).  Plans are becoming clearer and I think I can see the progression.  I think we can actually do it…we can develop something that meets the criteria set forth by my district and aligns with my education philosophy.  I see the scope and sequence and I think I can figure out the details.  It may even transfer to this new alternate reality.  I close my computer, silence my phone and open my door.  I prioritize time with my family over another zoom meeting, recognizing that tomorrow is, indeed, another day.



3 thoughts on “With Apologies to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

  1. Nicely written, Amy! My favorite line – “Why can’t anyone give a straight answer? One leader (and I use that term loosely) gives one version and another tells a different tale.” This is my only frustration right now. I feel sadness for the people who are sick and dying. I feel loneliness for my parents. I feel empty without my students. I feel happy with my family. I only feel frustration and anger for the lack of leadership that I (and the community, state, and nation) need. Why are decisions always last minute? Why do people have to be the first to get the news out (even when it may not be accurate)? So frustrating. I’m finding my silver linings, but communication and leadership need to change (at every level) when we go back to a healthier nation.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so powerful. I hadn’t quite thought about how I move through all these stages every day, but your post is making me think about my many challenging moods differently. This is one line that stood out to me as particularly beautiful and powerful: “I am seething and there is no escape because I am locked inside and it is pouring rain.”

    Liked by 1 person

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