The effect of the coronavirus: A personal reflection
We may be psychotherapists or counsellors but we are human beings too, and all of us are affected by the Coronavirus - either directly or indirectly - through the lockdown.
I hope fellow professionals can identify with this poem and, in doing so, it will help us all to recognise how much the changes have affected our working practises, as well as those of our clients.
My husband died at the end of October and I am experienced in working with and through the grieving process but the lockdown and isolation bring so many different dimensions to loss.
The poem I have written tries to describe the deeper sense of loss of life at the moment as well as the existential fears I imagine most of us have. Throughout my training and my own personal therapy, I have written many poems and have found the therapeutic value in externalising my thoughts and feelings.
Maybe writing poetry, keeping a journal, singing, painting or drawing can help each one of you and these may be ways in which clients can share their fears at this time.
The Effect of the Coronavirus
My world feels really strange right now
Silent most of the time
And feeling alone in a way that I can’t remember
Each hour merges into the next,
Each day passes by
And I can’t even remember the day or the date
Or is it just a never-ending long weekend
Staying in most of the time to avoid an invisible virus
That just might end my life or yours
It can’t be seen, can’t be touched, can’t be warded off
Except by isolating and maintaining social distance
As I see the number of cases and deaths rise each day
I can honestly say that I’m scared
I don’t want to be whisked off to a hospital
And put on a ventilator to die alone with no chance to say goodbye
There’s an eerie silence and life seems so surreal
With streets that are empty
Cars on driveways sit quietly saving fuel
Instead of going to work
Holidays are cancelled,
Aeroplanes stand at airports
And tourist sites are empty
The pace of life has slowed down
The air is much clearer
With limited exhaust fumes polluting
Schools are closed
Children stay at home
Working online to do their studies
Learning in different ways, distanced from their friends
The NHS is overwhelmed
But fights each day to treat so many people
We owe them our lives
We owe them our respect
As I sat in my garden in the sun
I heard the birds singing
Saw a robin hopping on the branches that are still coming into bud
Saw the blueness of the sky and I gave thanks for the natural things in life
I don’t need a Mercedes or a Lamborghini
Or to win the National Lottery
I need to be with people I love and value
To share special moments with laughter and to give each other a hug
I hope when all this is over
That we’ve learnt what’s important in life
And I hope we continue to treasure each minute
Show compassion, kindness and support
To truly value each person
Our family, neighbours and friends
Take time to ring, to Skype, to text, to check that we’re all ok
Not just through this dreadful virus but every single day
Let’s cherish the time we have left in our lives
And never take life for granted
Let’s feel blessed each day we open our eyes
And know we can get through anything together.
- Christine Redfern Psychotherapist April 2020
If you like this poem, I published a book in 2013 called ‘Shades of Self - Poetic Integration’ with a Forward written by Richard G Erskine. It captures much of my growth and learning.
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