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A Long Hard Week: When Our World Changed

April 4, 2020

Another Way for week of April 3, 2020

A Long Hard Week

It was a hard, tough week for us. You will likely recall your own circumstances of whatever week, day, or time when the corona virus began really changing your life, your outlook, your state of mind. For sure, the virus was out there much earlier, on the news, in other countries, and then bam. Things started really closing down, and we were told to stay home.

On top of that, four people we knew well died all in that same week: not from COVID-19, but they were taken from us just the same.

It started on Sunday, March 8, with a startling announcement after worship at church. One of our longtime members, a coach who began the football program at the local now large university, passed away in his sleep. We collectively drew in our breath: that sucking-in sound that signals surprise, dismay, sadness. Challace was not quite 78. His memorial service later that week was massive for our moderately sized church, and the hugs we gave and received from his family were likely the last hugs we will have for a long time (from someone other than a mate).

On Monday I learned that a sweet member of my water exercise class at our wellness center had also died on Sunday. Ruth was in her 90s. Her husband participated in the same class, and on Monday he came to class anyway. I imagine he desperately needed to do something normal, to get out of their apartment. They had been married over 72 years. Later I figured out I had worked closely with their son about five years.

On Tuesday I learned that the housekeeper at my former office, Doris, had died. In her early 90s, we knew she had cancer, so it wasn’t a surprise. I had written about her in this column, about her long career working into her 90s. In fact, she did light cleaning at the local credit union until cancer made that impossible. I mostly rejoiced that Doris’ suffering was over, and went to the family viewing on Thursday night.

On Friday a dear cousin, Joyce, also went to her heavenly reward. She had “coded” (rescue slang for a cardiac arrest event although not a heart attack) the Friday night before in the yard at her home. Her daughter, a trained safety staff person at work, tried to revive her mother, performing CPR until the rescue squad got there. Joyce was put on a ventilator and chilled into a hypothermic state to save her organs. Her family spent the week faithfully by her side, praying for a miracle to overcome what had surely caused brain damage. Reluctantly they said their goodbyes and after much medical consultation, removed the ventilator. She died peacefully on March 13 at the age of 72. That’s young in my book.

That Friday the 13th in March, was the day many of us had our lives affected personally with restrictions on no gatherings of more than 10 people, keeping away from even our loved ones, locked out of nursing homes, closing of schools, daycares, restaurants, recreation, and gyms. Not a good Friday for anyone, but particularly devastating for all those who had already suffered the loss of a loved one. Bad luck superstitions aside, it was not a Good Friday.

This coming week of course in Christian circles is Holy Week. Jesus had a disaster of a week some 2000 years ago. I’m sure the disciples found that particular week a whirlwind of emotions as well: to go from the triumph of Palm Sunday to their world falling apart. The closeness of Thursday night’s last Passover meal with Jesus, and later that night, Peter and Judas’ wretched betrayal of Jesus.

Then came the cross of “good” Friday. I guess we call it good because of Jesus’ willing sacrifice of himself—even though he knew how incredibly painful and ugly and gut wrenching it would be. His gift made it possible for the rest of us to grab onto the rays of hope which his birth, life, death, and resurrection give us. We can clutch his hand even amid the prolonged disruption and fear this virus has caused.

And praise be, the tomb was not the end for Jesus: his resurrection gave us the promise of the same raising to eternal life.

Look for those rays of hope and snag them for yourself: the love of family, friends, and colleagues which stretch beyond the borders of sidewalks and windows and closed doors. And don’t stop praying for those suffering grief, panic, pain, loneliness, and fear. We owe abundant thanks to those who provide their care.


How has your life changed since March 13, 2020?

How do you plan to celebrate Easter?

How are you?

Share or comment here or privately, to the address below.

Connect with me at or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  









  1. My condolences to you, Melodie, having to absorb so many losses at this time. So sorry!

    Just a few minutes ago I learned that the aged mother of our pre-school director has Covid-19 and the family cannot visit.

    We have Hope in the Cross … and the Resurrection. I have no idea how we will celebrate Easter. Even though our families are in the city, we can’t share dinner this year. Our church service will be live-streamed again. One day, though, we will gather with new bodies for all eternity, no worries about sickness, sorrow, or death!

    Blessings to you and your family too.

    • Hi, Marian, thanks for your thoughts here. My daughter just told me of the death of a co-worker’s grandparents in Florida, both from COVID-19, I’m sorry to say. I do not know anyone personally.
      I think many of us will be so so lonely on Easter. But yes, we have hope of better days ahead, and an eternal life beyond that. Thanks.

  2. Judith LePera permalink

    Melodie, this is one of your most beautiful entries ever among a crowd of beautiful entries. Thank you for the hope they’re in and the beautiful flowers in the photos you provided. I am so sorry for your multiple losses.

    • Thanks for your sweet comments, Judy. I am missing my new connections with the little Reaching Out house church. I need to keep finding ways to reach out to others with all of us in isolation. I’m glad people are enjoying the flower pictures. I have daffodils and blue bells right now, and am awaiting the tulips (newly planted last fall.) P.S. I loved your house and location–new to me when I dropped off the “dishes” the other day. You have a lovely neighborhood. See you sometime!

  3. Beverly silvr permalink

    Oh Melodie, I echo Judy’s comments. I am so sorry for your loss of those precious people. This will certainly be a unique Easter season. Thanks for the photos of the flowers. I hope that Stuart is doing well with his rehab at home, as was noted in one of our church communions . Love to you both. Life here at Sunnyside is also very different. I am blessed to be here Beverly

    • Thanks for touching base here. I appreciate all communication! We are slugging through rehab, it is hard on our own. I do feel privileged though, to not have to go to work or juggle childcare and work or anything like that. I say prayers for our daughters, for sure! And relationships. I know you miss your daughter and grandsons and mates.

  4. My heart goes out to you, Melodie, and to the scores of other people grieving these losses. One of the strangest things about these lock down days is that births, accidents, illness treatments, and sudden death are all happening just as they always have, But nothing is the same. No funerals. No bedside attendants other than doctors and nurses at the birth. And everyone afraid to enter the hospital.

    Queen Elizabeth’s speech to England and the world yesterday brought tears to my eyes. Her phrase “we’ll meet again” goes back to the popular song from WWII. We can understand it on many levels, as the comments above indicate — all the way from meeting after the quarantine passes to meeting in eternity. This speech will be studied in years to come as an example of how a leader can help a nation “keep calm.”

  5. Thanks, Shirley, this means a lot and I didn’t know the WWII popular song connection. My mother, same as age as the queen I think, has always just loved the monarch. 🙂 And this speech was indeed very steadying, uplifting.

    Cancer patients who are trying to work through treatments amid this virus have my special prayers just now, especially a friend who was transferred to UVA yesterday. Not sure of details. So many to care for.


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