Grieving the Loss of Normalcy

6 min read

Grieving the Loss of Normalcy

Grieving the Loss of Normalcy
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Words by:

Tracey Wallace

Illustration by:

Ethan Silva

Words by:

Tracey Wallace


Ethan Silva


We don’t know how long this will last. Each of us in our homes, practicing social distancing or self-quarantining until the curve is flattened and the worst of it is over. Some say 6 weeks. Some say 18 months.

Either way, most of us are grieving the loss of normalcy.

  • The ability Netflix and chill at home, isolated from others, is a Millennial art. And yet, the fun in it is only from being able to make that choice as opposed to others –– not being forced to do it.
  • For Gen X, the generation that is often on the move –– traveling to see the world, riding their motorcycles down back country road, experiencing all this life has to offer –– that is put on hold.
  • For Gen Z, their high school experiences are coming to a quick close. This will be a memory that marks them for life, that changes the way they interact in this world, the way the Great Recession did for Millennials.
  • For Baby Boomers, this time is scary. They are the generation put at risk due to the coronavirus.

And that is only looking at this from a generational cohort standpoint.

Each of us, in our daily and individual lives, is grieving the loss of going to the grocery store and having everything stocked, or being able to go to work and have some by the coffee pot talk.

Things are different –– and they will be for at least the next few weeks.

  • People are reeling from lack of finances.
  • Others are doing everything they can to help and think of others.
  • Companies that can are continuing to pay hourly wages for those who cannot work.
  • Funeral homes are setting up live streaming for those who cannot travel to attend.

A post shared by That Good Grief (@thatgoodgrief) on Mar 7, 2020 at 6:19am PST

Things are different, yes, and people are stepping up to offer community and options for things that are essentials.

  • And yet, even if you are OK...
  • Even if you haven’t had a recent death, or aren’t feeling the immediate financial burden –– or even if you are…

It is OK to grieve the loss of normalcy.

Grief is a normal and natural response to change of any kind, especially an unwanted or unexpected change to our routines and habits.

Grief can often be isolating and paralyzing. Community is the antidote to this, which in these current times is more difficult to foster.

Be sure to make it a daily point to call someone, to facetime with someone over coffee or wine, to make human connection as often as possible.

Human connection is, after all, our routine and our normal. We are a social species, no matter how much we like our alone time too.

So, even in your grief, do this one thing: reach out.

  • Use Facetime to call friends and family.
  • Donate to coronavirus causes to help out the community. GoFundMe has tons!
  • Send Paperless Post cards to friends who are having to postpone weddings and events –– letting them know you are there for them.
  • Attend live-streaming funerals if any pop-up, and send flowers and whatever meals you can to that family. Their grief is deep, and death care is different in this current time.
  • Walk outside. Just down the street. Maybe with your dog, if you have one (maybe foster a dog ifyou don't!). Let nature inspire you and fresh air feel your lungs. Even this daily activity can help with the feeling of paralyzation.

A post shared by The Kardoggians (@the_kardoggians) on Mar 17, 2020 at 1:01pm PDT

A post shared by Eterneva ♾ Ashes To Diamonds (@eterneva) on Mar 18, 2020 at 8:16am PDT

The Virtual Therapist Will See You Now

Need to talk to a professional about how you are feeling? That’s great! Virtual therapy was already on the rise before coronavirus, so the tools and technology are already in place! Yay, technology!

“Roughly 450 million people currently struggle with a mental health condition such as anxiety and depression, but nearly two-thirds never seek professional help. The big barriers include stigma, time, cost and availability,” reads The Global Wellness Institute’s report on virtual therapy.

“To tackle this crisis, mental health is moving beyond the psychiatrist’s couch, with a rise in virtual apps and platforms (whether TalkSpace, BetterHelp or Amwell) that give people the ability to talk, text and video conference with professional counselors, on their schedule, in the comfort of their home, often at a fraction of the price of clinic appointments.”

And now, we’re in the coronavirus pandemic, with triage levels of anxiety and loneliness. And with a mandate of social isolation, teletherapy is on the rise—and needs to be.

We recently spoke to Alma member Lisa A. Henshaw, PhD, LCSW about what trauma is, how COVID-19 presents as a traumatic stressor, and the pandemic’s effect on those with past trauma.

A post shared by Alma (@hello_alma_) on Mar 19, 2020 at 1:42pm PDT

Psychiatrists and therapists are holding their once in-person sessions on the phone/online (like The Austin Center for Grief and Loss!), and more people will turn to the new platforms that connect them virtually to mental health professionals.

Use these tools. Talk to friends. Take this seriously. Your mental and physical health will thank you over the weeks to come.

Forecasting the Future of Teletherapy

  • Virtual mental health platforms are spawning because they meet crucial unmet needs: They’re often dramatically more affordable and convenient and are anonymous, with social taboos about seeking mental help still so pervasive in so many countries worldwide.
  • New technologies will continue to make new models of digital therapy a reality: from AI helping match people to the right treatment/professionals to the use of virtual reality in therapy to EEG neurofeedback delivered online.
  • Millennials are leading the online therapy charge: Younger generations are used to everything imaginable being a digital transaction, they demand convenience in all, most would rather talk than see people, and they’re far more comfortable seeking mental help than other generations. They embrace online platforms such as Rethink My Therapy, offering unlimited therapy for $60/month.
  • Virtual therapy apps will become more personalized to people’s specific needs. For instance, Regain specializes in professional couples’ therapy, Pride Counseling serves LGBTQ individuals, while Henry Health targets black men. Ayana connects marginalized communities with therapists from their culture, background and race.


Shakespeare wrote King Lear when the Plague closed theaters. At that same time, Isaac Newton invented calculus, parts of optic theory and allegedly, while sitting in his garden saw an apple fall from a tree, which inspired his understanding of gravity and the laws of motion.

This has all happened to us before –– and it will happen again. We can do this. We are powerful. Each of us can come out the other side stronger than before.

A post shared by Eterneva ♾ Ashes To Diamonds (@eterneva) on Mar 19, 2020 at 6:42am PD

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Illustrations by Ethan Silva. Ethan is the founder of Bad Lucky Studio and a freelance graphic designer and illustrator who has been working with Eterneva for more than a year. His work helps bring levity, beauty and understanding to grief through design. Written by Tracey Wallace. Tracey is the head of Brand Marketing at Eterneva.

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