IN THE beginning, it was surreal—almost like I had been pulled into the screen of my phone—inside the dystopian film I’d been watching. This virus will go away. It’s no worse than the flu. In a month’s time, my life will return to normal. I will stay calm. This stage is called DENIAL.

If global health authorities had acted more quickly and decisively, this pandemic would never have happened. If government had done a better job, more lives could have been saved. This stage is called ANGER.

I promise to do better, Lord. I promise to surrender my life to you. Just get me through this pandemic. Please save my family. Please save my business. This stage is called BARGAINING.

What’s the point of getting up each morning when I can’t go anywhere and I can’t see anyone? My business is over. I see no future. What is the point of living if this coronavirus is never leaving? This stage is called DEPRESSION.

Coronavirus is here to stay but it doesn’t have to rob me of the joy of living. I can adapt to new norms and new ways of living. Life has changed. Definitely. But I count my blessings. This stage is called ACCEPTANCE.

I have utilized Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ five stages of grief to describe our actions and reactions during this pandemic. Grief is not linear, uniform or predictable but these five emotions are often present in the grieving process.

We all started out and probably are still experiencing various degrees of denial about Covid-19. This is not necessarily worthy of criticism. Denial, after all, is the brain’s way of calibrating the dosage of grief our heart is capable of taking at each point in time.

Think about it. If we did not allow ourselves some degree of denial about death, we would spend our lives in great agony anticipating the eventual end.

Most times we are angry, we are actually scared. When reality started to set in, we began to panic. In our terror, we started to blame everyone for the spread of this virus. Could we have done better? Perhaps. Could we have prevented it? Probably not.

Many people started bargaining with God and making all kinds of promises if only God would spare their lives and the lives of their loved ones during this pandemic. I hope we keep all our promises.

No one imagined when we entered this tunnel in March that it would be five months before we could see a sliver of light. Some of us lost loved ones along the way. A few of us sank into depression. For many of us, a cloud of anxiety continues to blanket our days.

But we can move forward. Despite the pain, we can move beyond the loss of our loved ones and the loss of our former lives. We can’t make the virus go away but we can learn to live with it. We can evolve. We can adapt. We can hold on to the faith that a changed future will usher in a better life for all of us.