My regular listeners know that every Thursday morning, I release a new podcast episode. Today, that is not happening. I feel like over the past week and a half, the whole world has changed. COVD-19 has changed everything. Everyone seems to have an opinion, ranging from ‘everyone is completely over-reacting’ to ‘I’m not setting foot out of my house for several months.’ In case you are wondering, as a physician, my feelings fall somewhere in between those two sentiments, although I am closer to the ‘don’t leave your house’ opinion.
Given the craziness at my office over the past week trying to keep staff and patients healthy, I found myself unable to focus my energy on putting out a podcast. I feel badly because I know people look forward to hearing it, but I just feel so tired. It’s been almost too much just trying to plan meals for the family and worrying if I will be able to get enough food at the grocery store.
We have been working for a year to have the St. John’s Choir from Cambridge come to perform at the first Andrew Larson Memorial concert. The concert was to take place next week. It has obviously been cancelled. I know that this is the only smart thing to do, but it is devastating to me. It almost feels like a part of Andy is dying again. On top of that, I feel if I talk about my disappointment at all, I am just being selfish. There are more important things to think about and discuss right now, keeping people healthy and prevent the spread of disease. I know that in my head, but my heart still grieves.
Two songs have been commissioned in Andy’s memory over the past year as well. The first was to be sung for the first time next week with Peter singing the solo part, and the second was to be debuted in the May concert. Given the state of the world now, it is unlikely that either will be sung for quite some time. I try not to think about this too much. I try to focus on helping other people stay healthy so they don’t have go go through this type of pain.
All of this has put me in such a hard spot. I find myself pushing my grief down to try to deal with everything else. I see patients through televisits and gown and mask when seeing sick kids. Given the fact that my foster son is immunosuppressed after his kidney transplant, I find myself worrying about him as well. I have lost one son already, and fear that I would not be able to handle losing another.
Overall, these emotions being shoved down has not been good for me. My grief support groups have been cancelled, and I have yet to set up a televisit with my own therapist. I probably should keep trying to do the podcast even if it seems less important now. It is something that I have been able to do with Andy for 6 months, and I miss that connection I have had with him.
I sit here wondering what else we can do to help each other. I honestly feel guilty talking about anything other than COVD right now; I think many people feel the same way. Unfortunately, the grief is still here. A global pandemic does not make it go away. In fact, I think the stress of life right now is likely making things worse. We need to be there to support each other in any creative way that we can. I would like to start by doing a virtual support group next Wednesday, March 25th at 7pm which is the exact time that we were supposed to have the Andy Larson Memorial concert. When I record my podcasts remotely, I use a Zoom conference call, so I can send out invitations to anyone who might want to participate, Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for the invitation.
Thank you so much for all you give your listeners. I look forward to hearing your wonderful podcast each week. My son died just a few weeks before your first podcast, so I have been lucky enough to have your podcast each week of this painful journey. I am truly sorry that the Andrew Larsen Memorial Concert has been canceled. The whole concert—all the planning, distinguished guests, sold out tickets, special songs —was obviously such a labor of love and was so exciting for even us listeners to hear about. It has to be so terribly disappointing—and of course it’s not selfish to feel upset about that.
Everyone understands that with the state of our country right now and with you being a pediatrician that your podcast will be postponed for a while. Who knows how long.? Things are changing so rapidly. Please take care of yourself, your family and your patients, and we, your listeners will be here for you when you return. Stay safe.