I Wondered. “How was it going to go?”
What a big change. Singing together but now singing together via computer.
COVID-19 has brought significant changes into our lives. We’ve experienced numerous losses – most of them unexpected.
When talking to those who are on a journey with a loved one who has dementia, a common theme I hear is that ongoing loss is to be expected and even anticipated.
I’m certain that COVID has been challenging for all of us, but I have been very impressed by the resilience of our choristers. I have taken a close look at what I can learn from them in my own life. They have been mentors: teaching me what it means to have a positive attitude, to see the good in situations and other people, and to live in gratitude. Oh yes, and greet life with a sense of humour. I’ve heard and seen these things over and over again in our choristers.
Has life during COVID been easy? No. But those who have experienced a history with loss are able to manage and adapt much better than those who have no experience.
What do I mean by that?
The concept of “historical antecedents” is powerful when considering loss, transition and how we have adapted to COVID.
An historical antecedent is defined as something that has happened or existed before or is a part of your life that happened in the past. It’s the “been there, done that” of our lives.
When we have a history, we have an experience. We learn from our experience what has worked and what has not when facing a loss. Our past experience will inform how we approach a similar situation in the future.
For the most part, none of us have experienced a pandemic before. But for some who lived a longer life, they may already have tools that have helped them through previous losses in life. They have applied these “learnings” to what they are currently experiencing.
I recently read the results of a research study entitled:
The ups and downs of daily life during COVID-19: Age differences in affect, stress, and positive events (by Patrick Klaiber M.Sc., Jin H. Wen B.A., Anita DeLongis Ph.D., and Nancy L. Sin Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia).
This paragraph struck me when I read it as I felt that it accurately depicted what we’ve been experiencing at Voices in Motion:
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an outbreak of ageism, in which public discourse has portrayed older adults as a homogeneous, vulnerable group (Ayalon et al., 2020). Our investigation of the daily life amid the outbreak suggests the opposite: Older age was associated with less concern about the threat of COVID-19, better affective well-being, more daily positive events, better perceived ability to cope with stressors, and less affective reactivity to non-COVID-19 stressors. Younger and middle-aged adults, on the other hand, faced more interpersonal conflicts and work- and family-related daily stressors.
Indeed, for those who have not been able to visit their loved one in long-term facilities, the impact has been very difficult. The lack of family and visitors with whom to interact has resulted in failing health and emotional stress for many in long-term care and their loved ones.
In both situations, I still hear amazing people who are teaching me how to face loss and transition. “It’s not easy, but we are managing,” one chorister said to me recently.