COVID-19 Views: New Hopes and Old Emotions

With the blossoming of spring just around the corner marking twelve months since New York commenced its battle with COVID-19, many of our members and volunteers have been reflecting on this time and drawing inspiration for the months ahead.

This piece was contributed by Susie Lang, LMHC, NCC.

Throughout 2020, AWNY’s community team hosted ten emotional impact events which I facilitated. These were an opportunity to listen, share and support each other as we all experienced the emotional effects of the current health and economic crises, civil unrest and the ongoing pandemic.  

There was lots of grief—grieving the loss of living our lives—on an individual and a collective level. So many dramatic changes. Often, the groups were small and intimate. A close connection developed with those who had the courage to attend. A sense of feeling not-so-isolated seemed to enable each participant to find ways of coping with the depths of this uncertainty; and perhaps a sense of being united in our grief.

On March 1 2021, a small group of Australian women from New York, New Jersey, and Sydney gathered together to further explore “New Hopes and Old Emotions”, to reflect on the ways we survived throughout the past 12 months of COVID-19, while looking towards the future.  
In many ways, it’s a conversation on everyone’s lips; only this time touched with hope-filled highlights.

With spring around the corner, there seemed to be more hope of change:

  1. Continued uncertainty touched with the hope which surrounds the vaccine potentials. 
  2. Anxiety and fear as we head into life in a new era of “how to be” now that the vaccine is out there. Our courage to step out in hope.
  3. Grief touched with potential hope that surrounds our current lives and that maybe sometime soon we could go home to Australia for a visit, get a new job, watch our gardens grow, etc. 
  4. Chronic fatigue as our uncertainty continues and feeling hopeful that we have found ways to care for ourselves through gardening, nature, conversation, connection.
  5. The hope of new and continued certainty of and for ourselves. The cycle of life and acknowledging that some days are real downers, “how can I continue” and then something and somehow, we turn around, where inspiration is back in play again. 
  6. The hope that our friends and family are open to meet face to face. How will this be?  What will our conversations be?  What will our new bubble of friendships be like?  

In this new time of hope and exploring the dimensions of continued uncertainty with “what will the vaccine bring”“how will we be”“do I feel safe enough”“do my friends feel safe enough” – there are many questions to explore and discuss.  We did, in part, open up the possibilities for ourselves to be more hopeful. 

I have a hunch that we all have a continued yearning to be connected: it is strong and with this, our connections, our communities and our conversations—we have the greatest potential to thrive again—on an individual and collective desire. 

Forever hopeful.

Susie Lang, LMHC, NCC

This essay was written by Susie Lang and is republished with permission.

How are you coping with COVID-19?

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Author: Australian Women in New York

Australian Women in New York (AWNY) sources stories and guides that will help make you win the Big Apple. We also love to profile fabulous Aussie and Kiwi women.

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