Conversations in Grief Blog: Testing Positive

Rainbow Community Care Team
January 14, 2021 / 5 mins read
Conversations in Grief Blog: Testing Positive

Sitting across the desk from my supervisor who had swabbed my nose to test for COVID, I watched her watch for results. For some reason, her early reaction told me she was already seeing the line that alerted that I was positive.

As I sat there and listened to her make small talk with me, I worked hard to receive her words even while I was feeling the anxiety of the waiting in every part of my body. Hoping and believing for the best was already not working. My sister had tested positive almost two weeks earlier (I was already quarantining). My mom had tested positive. When my cold developed, I thought, “This can just be a cold; it doesn’t have to be COVID. I already have a negative test to prove it.”

“You’re positive.” I heard her say it, but it was difficult to comprehend. I felt my two supervisors moving away from me. One encouraged me to take the pen that I had used to sign the permission form. The other stood as far away from me as possible as she handed me a list of instructions.

The thing about the COVID diagnosis is that it is just as devastating emotionally as it is physically.

When I was able to begin thinking, the dominoes started falling: cancelling in-person visits, telling my husband, telling my out-of-state kids whose arrivals for Christmas were days away, telling my siblings and parents, informing the church where I was scheduled to preach. Of all things, I realized I had dropped off a Secret Santa gift right before my test and I quickly emailed my co-worker asking her to not touch the gift because I had COVID.

The other thing that hits is a sense of personal failure. I found myself telling people that I was sorry that I had exposed them. I panicked when I thought of my quick stop at the post office earlier in the week to mail a card and grab mail.

This is the trauma I experienced with my COVID diagnosis.

I was sick, but felt better in the space of four days. I was able to work from home. I had PTO to cover the time I felt too sick to work. Friends and family texted and called with their love and support. One niece and family even coordinated a drop off with my husband so that I received a care package.

All of that support and a full recovery. And I experienced fatigue and profound sadness. I felt overwhelmed and no longer anticipated the upcoming Christmas holiday. Instead of anticipation, I felt the loss of all of the ways we wouldn’t be celebrating and all of the people we wouldn’t be with during the holiday. Everything feels harder to me right now.

Why do I share this with you? Two reasons. One is to simply be transparent about how it feels to be diagnosed with COVID and how it impacted every part of my life, even though my case was mild and I had a full recovery. Two is to invite others to consider this outlet of journaling, of writing out what you have experienced, naming the loss and grief you are living with. Because I feel better in the sharing and understanding more clearly how I am feeling. In the understanding, I find myself more compassionate with myself, more patient as I realize that getting back to 100% will take a while.

This is my story, for now. What’s yours?