Sometimes, when I am out for a walk in my neighborhood, I pass a couple, or a family, holding hands. Yesterday, it was a small child between her parents, holding first to her father’s hand then reaching up and grasping her mom’s as well. This most ordinary of gestures, of contacts, made me glad for them and, at the same time, acutely aware of what so many of us are missing. Lynn’s post today seemed to come in response to my experience and feelings of yesterday. Funny how that happens. Perhaps we’re not as disconnected as it appears.

Covid-19 cases climbing in almost every state as U.S. braces for possible ‘third peak’—NBC News

Federal judge strikes down Trump plan to slash food stamps for 700,000 unemployed Americans—WaPo

Alaska’s new climate threat: tsunamis linked to melting permafrost—The Guardian

October 18, 2020

COVID and the sense of loss
by Lynn Gusto Hannan, Palm Desert, California

My friend Terrie Turner recently wrote about volunteering and the sense of loss during this time of COVID. That got me to thinking about our other “losses” during this time. Our “normal” life is not what it was before, and probably will not be again, even when COVID takes a backseat in our daily lives. Right now, as it is front and center, nothing is the same as it was.

One of the things I miss the most is attending Friday night services at Temple Sinai in Palm Desert, California. As my late husband used to say, it just started our weekends off right. Seeing familiar smiling faces, sitting with our “group,” and the hugs we all gave one another after services. I miss those. We have a wonderful new Rabbi, and we can’t even meet him in person! I am getting used to seeing everyone on Zoom, but, it’s just not the same.

Shopping is also one of those things I miss a lot during this time. Just leisurely walking down an aisle, seeing if something caught my eye—whether I needed it or not! Haven’t done that in seven months now. Most anything I need now is ordered online, so I don’t have to have “contact” with anyone. Groceries, supplies, clothing, dog food, gifts—all of it is just a click away. I think my computer has become my “friend” right now. I miss the personal contact.

Also gone is the sense of breaking bread with others. Not being able to go to our favorite burger place after services and talk about what’s going on in each other’s lives. A last minute call to meet someone for a breakfast out. The girls’ lunches out! Happy Hour—late afternoons are not so happy now.

And the list goes on and on. Anything that was normal before is not normal now. The common thread is missing that human contact. There is no replacement for that. My hope is that someday we will have a new normal, and we will be able to go back to enjoying time with family and friends, no matter what it is we are doing. In the meantime, we have this forum to help to be able to express ourselves. That’s a step in the right direction, but the time that we can have real contact with one another again can’t come soon enough!


  1. This article brought to my mind all the joy of being together at the Rabbi’s Spiritual Saturdays. And I thought about how the introvert might fare differently in these times. How much I depend on the internet has been a life saver. Connection in a face to face way, without distraction and choice to enter or not in to a Zoom event, is calming for an intro, but withdrawing may be the crutch that allows the introvert to keep “calm.?” A few hellos walking to the apartment mail boxes may be all that is needed as a reminder of my humaness.

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  2. As Lynn Gusto Hannan has written, nothing that had been normal before is still normal now. Oh, how true, dear Lynn! I totally agree that the biggest losses have to do with situations involving human contact. This causes a great loss of spirit to each of us, and I have no idea of when it will get better. Thank goodness for places like Ruth Falcon’s blog and Facebook where we can at least direct thoughts and feelings to one another in writing. May the day soon arrive when we can be together fully!

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  3. This was a timely post for me. I celebrated my birthday yesterday without lunching or shopping with you. And a virtual hug is just not the same. I am grateful for telephones, emails, Facebook, FaceTime, and of course, zoom; but they are not a substitute for connecting with family and friends in person. I miss you dear friend.

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