The Way We Were – Grief and COVID19

King of the Mountain Festival, Pomona

The stages of grief are relevant as the world mourns for lost freedoms and health, under a shared threat. People cope in different ways, moving from one stage to another, or becoming stuck in one phase.

(1) Denial – rampant conspiracism: “the virus is a hoax”, irrationally looking for someone or something to blame, grasping at straws, or “it can’t happen to me, I’m young and/or really healthy”.

(2) Anger – focused conspiracism: “it’s the NWO, illuminati, lizard people, 5G, China, Bill Gates” irrationally targeting someone or something with blame – often we can recognise here pre-existing white supremacism and ultra-nationalism . Other expressions of anger include self-harm, destructive displacement behaviours, domestic violence, feeling out of control – “how dare they take away my right to party”.

(3) Bargaining – if I do everything I’m told, I’ll be OK, compulsive hand-washing, obsessive germophobic behaviour – not a bad space in terms of reducing infection rates overall. Can also manifest as engagement in irrational behaviours, “if I act like everything’s normal, I’ll be OK”, or “if I placate gods/goddesses/idols/the ruling class, I’ll be OK”.

(4) Depression – feelings of powerlessness, helplessness, anxiety, hopelessness, lack of focus and concentration, dithering, finding the structuring one’s activities oneself is daunting, lack of social contact producing sadness.

(5) Acceptance – adapting to the new stressor with constructive behaviours, permitting oneself to grieve, treating self and others with kindness and understanding, also accepting that one can slip back into the other stages, not trying to force the grieving process.

Major life changes take three years or so to process. The impact of the COVID19 virus can multiply life changes into a huge multi-pronged stressor – losing one’s friends and family, job, schools and social contact with friends all rolled into one. Perhaps if we are more aware of ourselves and others and understand our reactions are part of being human, we can make the way easier for them and ourselves too.

We’ve Got You Covid – Make Your Own Face Mask

Preserve the shop-bought medical masks for health professionals and those who are working with vulnerable groups – you can make your own protection cheaply from recycled materials at home. Here’s how:

‘In the Czech Republic, masks have been compulsory since March 18th. The country has only 2 deaths (as at March 24) and the growth of new cases has flattened, whereas in other parts of Europe the pandemic is largely out of control. How has this happened? One of the key reasons is a massive country-wide community initiative to create and wear home-made masks. In just 10 days the country went from no mask usage to nearly 100% usage, with nearly all the masks made at home with easily accessible materials, like old t-shirts. See https://tiny.cc/masks4all

Longer version:

You can also sew your own masks from cotton bedsheets.

Here’s another sewn version.

Related Links

World COVID-19 updates
Queensland Health current status for COVID-19

Voting Under the Virus

The VillageI leave home, a significant event these days, to vote in the Council elections at the local village hall. The road to the village is very quiet for a Saturday. No problem gaining a park right outside. There’s no usual cheery how to vote card hustlers, just signage and pamphlets to pick up if one hasn’t bothered to ascertain already who are the candidates who will keep our shire maintaining its world class sustainable biosphere status and stop any greedy neolib ‘development’ – I have, of course.

Clutching my own pen, I stride inside the ancient weatherboard dance hall. I’m the only voter inside – there’s four workers at desks to tick one off the electoral roll or scan the posted card, then to hand out the voting sheets, one for the mayoral candidate and the other for councillors. The ceiling fans are going full bore.

In the recyclable cardboard voting cubicle, I make my marks, then glance onto the white backing sheet, where someone has neatly written “Stay Home But Vote?”

Chuckling, I delicately insert my slips into the relevant boxes and march out, straight home to the hand cleanser and accompanying double chorus of “There’s No Toilet Paper Today”, though the husband brought home a 6 pack from the big stupormarket in town this morning.

I wonder how many infections occur pursuant to the exercise of our ‘democratic duty’ today, especially considering the now several contamination events down the coast in our shire around the Ides of March. Et tu, Anna P?

With any luck, our new Council will go easy on ratepayers until the plague has past, when we’ll be safe on the beaches again, visiting our friends and, sob, playing table tennis as usual in the local school hall.

Apoemalypse

Flame Tree

Lostralia

The Not Good Network has crashed again!
What will we do without Netflix and Nintendo?
Stare out the window, gaze at the clouds
Till the kids beg us to read books to them out loud.
We cook up the mince and tear out our hair
And Grandma hides out in her flat downstairs,
What’s the pollies doing except for themselves
While our lives are becoming a living hell,
You’re surplus workers and we don’t need you,
Go get infected in a Centrelink queue,
It’s a brave new world for us all to explore,
And frankly, my dear, that’s no metaphor.

Jinjirrie, March 2020

Panic Payback

And there’s nooooo toilet paper again!
Just expensive tissues and paper towels,
The dunnyrollheads are driving us round the bend
And there’s a mighty bellowing in our bowels
That won’t be purged with a wash in the shower,
We’ll have to get up at an ungodly hour
And interview the dunnyroll queue
To ask politely ‘from where are you?’
And if they’re not from round here,
Lock ’em in the loo, till they learn not to fear!

Jinjirrie, March 2020

Under The Coronavolcano

Already I miss the parties, all our friends,
We’re a party for two without foreseeable end,
I ache for ping pong nights with our local group,
Now it’s stay at home or be carried off by hazmat suits.

We’ve been lucky, us two, we always rub by,
Yet with Scummo’s ineptitude we gaze at the sky,
Wondering when humans will be safe outside our place
And we can hug and kiss them again on their face.

Jinjirrie, March 2020

#Scummo Years

For these are now the Scummo years
You can’t eat dirt, you can’t drink fears
Stand up against the ruling class boots
It’s us or them, pull out their roots
Tears only overflow their cup
Never give in, never give up.

Jinjirrie, May 2019

From the bush on the Sunshine Coast, where even the local stupormarket is out of toilet paper again today.

Useful Resources:

WHO COVID19 info
Info on how long the virus survives on different surfaces, the virus half life, how to clean and more.

Domestic Inconsistencies

Golden Bunnies

I

She made me do it. She didn’t get the hint.
Obviously I didn’t want her anymore.
Simple things change. It didn’t feel right.
There have been others. I owed her no reason.
Whether too old, too bright, too cosmic,
She wouldn’t accept it.
She came to take her furniture.
After all I’d done for her. I needed it.
She stood her ground.
Her quietness was the spur.
It invited me to strike.
The barbed truth prodded my hands
to encircle her neck,
grab her thin body and throw it
like a curse across the room. Who would have thought
she’d be so light.
She bounced off her old table, fell against the lounge,
head cracking.
I nearly laughed.
I pushed her from my house.
Threw her bag after her.
She provoked it. Henry the Eighth got away with it.
Everyone says there’s two sides.

II

He dropped the blade on our love,
laughed when he dismissed me.
Kept my furniture. To compensate for
all he’d done for me.
So I visited to ask for it, my heater to keep me warm
now I was alone.
Like Anne Boleyn on the block I
meekly placed my head.
He pushed me. I flew across the room, ricocheting
off the table, hitting my old lounge.
My head rings still.
My injuries added to his insults.
Once he called me his gentle rose.
Excuses are words not blows,
certainly not the black marks on my body.
I wanted to salvage my belongings,
remake my tattered life,
to extract the thorn and release the angry pus
in private.
Everyone says there’s two sides and
asks whether I provoked him.
I stood my ground, wept, now
weep no more.

Jinjirrie, 1993