Questions for Reflection
Each episode we offer you a few prompts to think about how that day's conversation applies to you. You might pause the podcast and answer them right then and there, but if you keep a journal (Steph and Beth both do), you might find one of these PDFs useful. Choose the orientation that fits best in your journal.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:03):
Welcome to the Discovering Our Scars podcast. I'm Steph.
Beth Demme (00:07):
And I'm Beth. On today's show we're going to have an honest conversation titled Losing Someone During a Pandemic.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:14):
Then we'll invite you to reflect in the conversation in your own life with questions for reflection, and the show will close with Slice of Life.
Beth Demme (00:21):
So Steph, you got some sad news this morning, right before we were going to start recording. Why don't you tell us what happened?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:26):
Yeah, so we already had an episode planned to go today, but we just decided to change it. It felt like something that was important and timely to talk about. So back in May, my Papou actually passed away, I think we talked about it at the end of one of our episodes, and my grandmother was still alive, but I just got the news this morning that she passed away at 2:00 AM. And she'd been in the hospital for a couple of days, so we knew that she was sick. We didn't know prognosis and it's been complicated. I don't want to share the whole story just because it's confusing, but we got the word today that she passed away. So, yeah.
Beth Demme (01:12):
I'm really sorry. I'm really sorry.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:14):
Beth Demme (01:15):
That's a lot to lose both grandparents on that side of the family in such short order.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:22):
All my grandparents.
Beth Demme (01:23):
Yeah. So then all the grandparents. I can understand how that would be really hard.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:29):
I will say, as far as I know, they didn't die from COVID. I believe my grandmother was tested and so far I don't have the full details because it literally happened this morning, but I think it was from a lung infection. Whether that was caused from something that happened in the hospital or she had it before, it's unknown.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:49):
So about two weeks ago, I think it was almost two weeks ago—she had lived with my aunt and uncle after my Papou passed away, and they went out of town for a week—and so she actually came up to Tallahassee and was with us for a week. We were very nervous because of the global pandemic.
Beth Demme (02:11):
Right, right. Not a high time for travel right now.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:14):
Yes. So we were definitely concerned. She stayed at my mom's house and we wore a mask every time we were around her, because we didn't know if we had it. You just don't know. So we had as much caution as we could. We had fans going. And one fun little bonus there is the day my grandmother arrived, my mom's AC went out and it was supposed to be fixed within two days. And it wasn't fixed until the day before she left. So about a week it was out. But it allowed us to have good circulation in the house because we had fans going and we had the windows open. So ultimately I think it was not a horrible thing that the AC was out. But it's fixed now.
Beth Demme (02:55):
Well, I'm glad you guys got to have that time with your grandma.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:57):
Yeah. So that was like looking at everything, because we wouldn't have been able to see her otherwise. As hard as that was to deal with the pandemic, but also she had some medical things, like she has Type II diabetes and I learned how to give her insulin and take her blood sugar levels. And that was definitely stressful and hard, but I was glad I was able to do that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:25):
And we had some really good conversations during that week that she was here and she even really opened up about my Papou, like his last moments. I remember when she was telling me, she literally said, "I was holding his hand and I could tell when the life left him." And I was just like, "Oh, this is heavy." But I wanted her to keep talking because I knew that was important that she was sharing this.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:51):
The first day she was there, when she started talking she would start crying and she'd be like, "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry." And the first day I was like, "No, never be sorry for crying. Crying is important. This is a part of the process. You've got to get it out, you've got to cleanse your body." And after that first day she never apologized for crying. And I thought that was cool that she allowed herself to do that. And she allowed that cleansing and that purging of some of those feelings that were inside.
Beth Demme (04:17):
How long were she and your Papou married? Do you know?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:20):
60, 70. I think that it was just shy of 70 years, I want to say. I think so. They were married, I think she was 19 when they got married. She was young and so they were together. We weren't surprised. We didn't know how long she would be able to live without him because they were so connected for almost all of her life. And it was hard. When she was here, she was sad. She had lost her partner and she really opened up about some stuff, which was cool.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:01):
And one of the things is she's not a materialistic person and I'm not really, most of us aren't in my family, but I guess my Papou had given her a set of pearls one year. I think it was for a birthday or some holiday. And he had never done anything like that. But he gave her a set of pearls and she was so excited. And so these pearls were like her only nice possession that she considered her nice possession.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:31):
And I didn't know the story about these pearls. I didn't know anything about the pearls, but apparently when my Papou passed away, because we weren't able to go to the funeral, she was telling everybody she wanted to give the pearls to me. I was like, "What?" And so there's this whole thing. And she actually brought the pearls to me on this trip and gave them to me. And so now I have them and I could see how important it was for her to know I had the pearls. And I said, "When I pass away, who do you want me to give them to you? Do you want to give them me to give them to my niece? What do you want me to do?" She's like, "Whatever. They're yours. Whatever you want to do."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:11):
Obviously I'm a pearl girl. Anyone that knows me knows I love pearls. I don't know where I'm going to wear them, but I'm thinking I might just wear them in some Mother Daughter Project videos and just do it, just wear my pearls. So I'm actually working on a display right now, so I can have them and see them all the time, but where they are not getting dusty and stuff.
Beth Demme (06:34):
Where they're protected.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:34):
Exactly. So I actually have a little glass cover that I bought for it. I'm building the base right now. So I actually have an Amazon order coming today for my materials. So I'm excited to kind of put that on display. Because that was so important to her that I... How important that was.
Beth Demme (06:50):
It's great that she was able to personally hand them to you. You now have this special memory of actually receiving them from her and understanding the importance of it to her. That adds a whole 'nother layer of importance to that gift.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:06):
Exactly. And I could see it when she was giving it to me and telling me the story of it and it came in a cool box and it had the description of where it's from and everything. So, that was really cool.
Beth Demme (07:17):
That's really a treasure. That's really neat. So it seems like everything is heavy during the pandemic. I actually think it's one of the things that's propelling people to want to start to act like it's over when it's not over, because we're collectively tired of dealing with all of the changes. So normally for me, when something is a shared experience, it makes it easier because it's like, "Okay, the weight of this is now being carried by many hands instead of just by me." And so it makes it feel lighter somehow. But in COVID times it feels like losing someone has more weight, it's heavier, it's harder in the midst of this shared grief and this shared experience. Is that how it feels for you?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:08):
Yeah, I think everybody just kind of has a weight on them. So like when my Papou passed away, I didn't really know, I didn't tell... I have a core group of friends that we have a Facebook group chat and I thought about telling them, but I was like, "I don't want to burden them with that because there's nothing they can do. Why do they need to know? And it's already heavy enough with COVID. So I don't need to add that on top of things." And so I didn't tell them about my Papou. And then they started sharing some stuff and I realized it would have been important to tell them. I think they would have wanted to know. And so I actually did text them this morning and let them know kind of what was going on.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:52):
Because sometimes when I share hard things, sometimes I choose not to share them because I feel like it's putting a burden on somebody and it's an unfair burden to put that weight on them. But then I think, well, it's their choice how they react. It's not fair for me to say, it's unfair to put that burden on them. They care about me. If something like that happened in their life, I would absolutely want them to feel comfortable telling me. And I think it's really important to share with the people that are important to me, for that be a shared experience.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:27):
So it actually felt good to tell them, and it felt like a good step, that I actually shared it, because like I said, with my Papou, it was just like, I didn't know. I didn't know how to really approach it because I knew he was dying. We knew at the beginning of the pandemic that he was dying and it was going to be sometime soon. But with my grandmother, we knew she wasn't really bad off. When she was here, she had some medical stuff, but there's nothing that said that she was going to die in two weeks.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:59):
So although we knew that was probably the last time we were going to see her when she left, and so we said our goodbyes and it was heavy and it was hard, but I didn't know it was going to be two weeks. Which is kind of like with my Papou, we actually saw him right before the pandemic, so end of February. And we didn't know that was the last time we were going to see him, but it was about like a month later or a month or two later that he passed away. So again, it's like very, very cool that we had that time with him before the pandemic, and then so cool that we had that time with my grandmother just two weeks ago, not realizing at the time, the importance of it and how close the end was. Having no idea.
Beth Demme (10:45):
The other thing that I think makes loss during the pandemic even harder is that we can't gather and celebrate life the way that we would in non-pandemic times. The church where I serve, our building's not open. Our preschool is open, but our sanctuary is not open. We're not having Sunday services in person. And I know from my clergy colleagues that I'm connected with that the most that's happening right now, it seems for most, at least in the circles that I'm in, is there might be a small graveside service for immediate family.
Beth Demme (11:21):
And there's a part of me that just thinks, that's not fair because those folks deserve to be celebrated. We want to be able to celebrate the lives that they lived and we're not able to right now, because it's not safe for us to gather. And certainly you don't ever want to be in a situation where you have a gathering of people to celebrate life and it creates death. That would be compounding the pain even further. Do you guys plan to do any kind of a memorial or anything for your grandmother?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:53):
Well, that was what was hard with my Papou is they did have a graveside service in early May and my mom and I didn't go down because my mom's at high risk for COVID and it did not seem safe for us to be traveling seven hours to be around people. And that's also part of the weight of the pandemic in losing life is that was the right decision for the safety of us and others. But there are family members that didn't see it that way. And so there's the heaviness of being judged for the way that we're handling the pandemic, because they're handling the pandemic differently or putting different weight on it. So it's tough when not everyone is viewing the pandemic the same way, not everyone is as concerned, but I know my grandmother, that's the only reason we wanted to go to that funeral for my Papou was to be there for her.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:50):
And when she was here two weeks ago, we could see that she held no resentment towards us. She wasn't upset that we weren't there. She got it. And that was another really, really nice thing is her mind is all there. Her mind was all there. We actually talked to her on the phone like two days ago when she was in the hospital. Her mind was all there. She knew who we were. And my Papou was the same way. They were all there.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:19):
So for my grandmother, I think they're going to plan a service on Monday, I believe. My mom and I, again, will not be able to go. Most of the family is closer time wise to-
Beth Demme (13:36):
Like geographically closer.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:37):
Yes, than we are here in Tallahassee. We're kind of the ones that are the farthest within Florida. So there will be some people who are gathering. But again, I mean, it was way harder with my Papou because my grandmother was still here. But for her funeral, my mom and I talked about it briefly and we already had decided that we can't go. The numbers in Florida are high and it would just be too stressful, too much exposure for us to drive all the way down there.
Beth Demme (14:08):
It's something additional that the pandemic and the risks of COVID have really taken from you and from your mom, is that opportunity to gather with family, and in a time that's really important. And then like you're saying, then there's the additional element of, are some people going to think you made the wrong choice and then that's going to create additional pain. So it's like pain upon pain.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:33):
Yeah. And that's where it's tough, like what are people going to think of me? And that's when I have to realize that's their choice, how they think of me and what they think. I know that I'm doing the right thing for me, my family and other people. And that's what gets me through is knowing that. It doesn't make it super easy, but that's how I... My grandmother did not judge. I mean, she was here, she came, we had conversations about it. There was no resentment. And I didn't think there would be. She knows us and she knows we didn't just flippantly like, "Oh, we're not going to the funeral."
Beth Demme (15:09):
Right. She didn't say, "I was going to give you these pearls, but since you didn't come to Papou's service I'm not going to do it." No, she loved you, honored you, totally supported your decisions. So you have that comfort, I hope, going forward with...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:25):
Yeah. And one really nice thing about my Papou and my grandmother is both of them have always been supportive of everything that I do, which I can't say that for everyone in my life. When she was here two weeks ago, we got a really good sponsorship opportunity. And she was here when we got it, when we got the email, and she was just so proud. She's like, " Did you say yes?" And I was like, "Oh, I'm finishing reading the email, but yeah, I'm going to say yes." And she was just so proud of us and was just excited for us. And that was really cool. So when we actually get to make that project, it's going to be cool. When that all comes together, that's going to be cool.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:04):
Also, my mom told me, when they were together, that my grandmother had said, she's really glad I had Mac in my life, my dog.
Beth Demme (16:12):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:14):
That was cool.
Beth Demme (16:15):
I'm really glad that you had that time with her.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:17):
So we're talking a lot about loss, not even related to the pandemic. I mean, in the sense of not COVID loss, but there's also loss due to COVID. I mean, a huge loss due to COVID and I don't have any direct connection. I haven't lost anyone directly to COVID yet. I don't want to have to say yet, but that I know of, but-
Beth Demme (16:41):
There is a sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop, right?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:45):
Yeah. How about you, Beth?
Beth Demme (16:47):
Yeah, I have a lot of second-tier loss. So I have a friend who's lost two family members. I am in a book club and when we had our get together this week, it was like, "Well, coworkers have been lost." But then very recently, it's a little hard to keep track of time, I think it was last week, it could have been 10 days ago, but I think it was last week, a friend of mine from high school actually died of COVID, and there's this sense of, anytime someone in their forties dies, it feels like a waste, like, "Oh, what a waste that he didn't get to live to be older." But especially with COVID it feels like it should have been preventable or that it's one of those things that just shouldn't have happened, that it's compounding the tragedy.
Beth Demme (17:44):
He was someone who even in high school, so even as a 16, 17- year-old guy, he was nice. So if you can be nice when you are at that age. He continued to be who he was. And he grew up to be a really kind and really well-respected and well-loved man. And he was in ICU for almost two weeks before he passed away. His mother, his wife, his daughter, I mean just watching what they're having to go through. And there was a funeral for him and it was indoors. And I just couldn't bring myself to go. I am also three hours away from where it was being held, but sent flowers, did what I could.
Beth Demme (18:35):
And it was a unifying moment for a lot of us who have stayed in touch through Facebook, that we started texting each other and using Facebook Messenger and really sharing our memories of him and coming together to do something for the family. We all know each other because we were in the marching band together. And so [Taybron 00:18:59] who passed away, he was a drummer. He played the bass drum. So anyway, one of our friends who was the premier trumpet player actually played a special piece for him at the funeral and then recorded it so that we could hear it, those of us who couldn't go. A couple of friends wrote poems and then had them read or dedicated them at the service. So that was really neat.
Beth Demme (19:24):
The other thing with Taybron is, because he's African American, there's this part of me that thinks about the statistics, about how African Americans are being... The impact there is uneven or disparate or whatever the right word is. So then there's this additional element of it feeling unfair, that it was something that happened to him that was not fair.
Beth Demme (19:44):
And that's why I go back to this idea of normally, being able to share the weight of his death with those friends from high school and with my husband, because my husband was a drummer, so they were on the drum line together, that being able to share it would make it feel lighter. And because we're in a pandemic, it feels like it has shifted the weight of it and made it heavier instead of making it lighter. We're already sharing so much grief for what we've lost, that we can't distribute the weight of it anymore. So that everything feels heavier.
Beth Demme (20:22):
And I just know as a pastor, that I'm seeing when people lose someone during this pandemic, that it is really hard not to be able to gather and have our regular celebrations of life and our regular, I mean, I hesitate to call it a ritual because it's not exactly ritualized. It's unique to every person, unique to every family, unique to every faith tradition, but that there is a reason that we, as humans, created those services and those ceremonies, and it really has very little to do with the person who's gone. It has everything to do with those of us who are left, and the pandemic is preventing us from being able to engage in those ceremonies. And that that's an additional loss.
Beth Demme (21:16):
So it just kind of makes me wonder on some level, how would it be different if those folks passed away a year from now? If you had lost your Papou and your grandma before the pandemic, how would that be different than losing them now? I don't know all the ways. I just know that it feels like it would be different.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:39):
Yeah. I mean, loss is always hard, no matter when it is, but it almost feels like it's just like... When you lose someone, it feels gray, but the pandemic, it's felt gray since May or since March. I don't know how it would have been different. I do know, I've lost people in the past and it was hard and it was sad and there are funerals I chose not to go to, not because of pandemic, just because of the timing and all of that. But I think the pandemic just makes everything heavier and more charged and more unknown factors than we've ever had before.
Beth Demme (22:19):
Yeah. And since this is a podcast where sometimes we say the things that people are thinking, but are afraid to say, one thing that I've noticed is, I'm thinking about recently here in our community, we lost someone who had been a music teacher and impacted a lot of people in her life in that way. Had dealt with cancer for a long time, and it was a really slow decline. It was really hard on her family. And yet there is this little bit, there is in some way, a sense of, "well, at least she didn't die of COVID."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:54):
Right. Oh, yeah. Oh, well, yeah.
Beth Demme (22:57):
And so I hope that loss doesn't get dismissed in that way. It's not that only COVID deaths are terrible during the pandemic. What we're experiencing is that all loss is terrible and that somehow being in the pandemic seems to compound it. I mean, it's terrible. We've lost almost, I've just looked at the statistics this morning, almost 9,000 people just in Florida have died from COVID. That's terrible.
Beth Demme (23:30):
It's also terrible that there have been other deaths during this pandemic time, and that the pandemic has taken away some aspects of our ability to relate and mourn and grieve.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:47):
And now it's time for questions, for reflection. These are questions based on today's show that Beth will read and leave a little pause between for you to answer to yourself. Or you can find a PDF on our website dospod.us.
Beth Demme (24:01):
Number one. We've been dealing with COVID for many months now. As you reflect on those months, have there been times when a normally no big deal task, like minor home repairs or a storm or a doctor's appointment, where it felt overwhelming?
Beth Demme (24:18):
Number two. Have you lost someone or do you know anyone who has lost someone during the pandemic? Reflect for a moment on that person and how it might have felt different if they had passed away before or after the pandemic?
Beth Demme (24:32):
Number three. How does the pandemic make things like grief and loss harder?
Beth Demme (24:38):
And number four. If you've not lost anyone during the pandemic, do you feel left out? Do you feel like you're waiting for the other shoe to drop?
Beth Demme (24:53):
So I don't want to transition to Slice of Life and have it seem like there's this big emotional swing as if, "Oh, okay. Well, now we're both okay."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:02):
Well, can I share something else that happened this week? Because it's been a week.
Beth Demme (25:06):
Yeah. It's been a week. It's like #2020 all in one week. Yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:10):
You know, I do think at the end of this year, we need to do, the last day of the year something, we should do an episode about 2020, because I do keep hearing like, "Oh, 2020 that," and it's a heavy year, a hundred percent. But I'm curious, reflecting on the year as a whole, like when we reflect on it, will it be just this darkness or will there be other things we'll see? So I'm curious, maybe we should do that.
Beth Demme (25:35):
We should do that. I remember at the end of 2019-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:36):
We want to.
Beth Demme (25:37):
We want to. Not should. Yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:38):
Beth Demme (25:39):
I remember at the end of 2019, everybody was like, I can't wait for 2020. 2019 is a dumpster fire. We've just got to move on to the next year. And then it was like pretty quickly, I think we realized, oh, wait, things could always be worse.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:52):
And I just want to point out that there is something good about 2020.
Beth Demme (25:56):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:57):
My book came out officially in 2020. That's the copyright on my book. So that is a good thing.
Beth Demme (26:03):
That is a good thing.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:04):
I'm proud of that.
Beth Demme (26:04):
You should be.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:04):
It's like, "Oh my, that was heavy." But I am proud of that, that my book came out in 2020. But I do want to share something that happened this week. Five days ago on Monday, my dog Mac needed to get her regular shots. And so I was taking her to the vet and now it's different at the vet. Probably if you've been to a vet, it's probably similar. I can't go in anymore. So they come out and they take her and then bring her inside.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:30):
And by the way, I don't know if this is surprising, but my dog doesn't like the vet. Anyone else dog not like the vet? So I go to get her out of the back of the car for the tech that came, because I wanted to make sure I had her. So Mac jumps out of the car. I go to grab her collar, which is what I always do and put the leash on and I miss that first time, I missed getting the collar. So I go to grab it. And when I go to grab it the second time, she's gone, literally gone. And the tech's like, "Whoa," and starts running after her. And I start running after her. And she's a greyhound by the way, 45 miles per hour. No joke. I don't know why these humans tried to run after her.
Beth Demme (27:11):
I was like, "You had no trouble keeping up. 45 miles per hour. No problem."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:14):
So I live about not even a mile from the vet's office, like super close.
Beth Demme (27:20):
But it's a busy road.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:23):
So at first, I don't know what she's going to do. She's always with me. She's attached to me. And so one of the things they say is when greyhounds are running, run the other way and they'll come after you because that's like a game. And so I start running the opposite way. I started running after, then I started running the opposite way, and she does not turn around. And so then I turn around and start running again, back towards her. And I'm thinking she's running home because of where she was going. I'm like, "I think she's running home," so I'm having a panic attack because I realize she's going to go home and she's going to pass four lanes of traffic to get home.
Beth Demme (28:03):
Yeah, that's a busy road.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:03):
No, six lane. Three, four, five, six. I think it's six.
Beth Demme (28:06):
It's a lot.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:07):
It's a lot.
Beth Demme (28:07):
It's a lot of lanes where no one is looking for an animal to be crossing.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:10):
And it's right at an intersection between a huge busy road. So I'm running with flip flops on. I had just worked out that morning, so I was also tired from that, and I'm like hyperventilating because I'm like crying hysterically. I also have a mask on because I had just been about to pass her off. So I'm trying to figure out what to do. And I just keep going because I have to see if she made it across the street.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:34):
Once I saw the vet tech actually, because the vet tech was ahead of me because I ran back to get Mac to run after me. So she was ahead of me. Once I saw the tech still running towards, into my neighborhood, I realized Mac didn't get hit going across the street. So once I knew she hadn't gotten hit going across the street, I was pretty sure she wouldn't get hit in my neighborhood because it's a small neighborhood. I kind of like pass out on the ground, not pass out, like I was still conscious, but I'm just like crying and hyperventilating.
Beth Demme (29:01):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:02):
My mom pulls up in her car because she was there and I had told her at one point, I said, "Get in the car. Come." Because we're all trying to run after a greyhound. I'm like, "Get in the car." So my mom picks me up and she's like, "Okay, let's see."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:13):
So we go in the neighborhood, I tell the tech, I said, "She's going to my house. I live here." She's like, "Oh, okay." And by this time, like five people from the vet's office were coming too. Everyone was out of the office. They all knew this was happening. Long story, but I go to my yard. Mac was in my backyard. She couldn't get in the backyard because the fence was closed. So she was running frantically along the fence line. I pull up the fence, she comes in, we're safe. But I was just a mess because I'm just envisioning a flat greyhound on the ground. And the whole day, I was just like... Right before that, we had just done a video about a new Hoover vacuum cleaner, pet vacuum cleaner, so we had just finished filming all this footage, essentially about Mac, this whole video about Mac. And I hadn't edited it yet. So the plan was to edit it on Monday after her appointment.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:03):
So, I get home. I'm like, "Oh, she's alive." And then I edit this whole video about Mac. Right when I started editing, I was like, "What if she had died today and I had to edit this video?" I'm like... But it was good. The video I think is awesome in my opinion, and it turned out really well and she's alive. We get a second chance with Mac.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:24):
And so we're doing things differently. I consider it a complete accident what happened. I don't blame myself. That's never happened. I know people say that when their dog dies, like, "That never happened," and then their dog dies. We got a second chance. We know that. So now what we're doing is when we get her out of the car, mom is in the back seat, leashes her up, holds the leash. I open the door. Once the door is fully open, she passes me the leash. So there's never hands not on her.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:49):
And by the way, we had to go back to the vet to get the shot. We did. She has the shot, successful. So it did happen and she's alive. And I do feel like we got a second chance, but I'm ready for this week to be over.
Beth Demme (31:01):
Right. I mean, things just pile on. They just pile on. And we were talking obviously about the loss of people, and that this will be a time when you and your mom mourn the loss of your grandmother. But I'm sure that a lot of people in this pandemic time have lost their pets. And that must be so traumatic and so difficult as well. And maybe just like people saying, "Well, at least she didn't die of COVID." I wonder if there's also this sense of dismissing that other loss. Well, the world is really heavy right now and people are dying of this pandemic and it is just makes people more callous or more dismissive of the loss of a pet.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:44):
Beth Demme (31:45):
But I'm really glad that Mac is okay and that she's over here on the floor snoozing next to us.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:51):
Which is good because she has been whining before we started recording.
Beth Demme (31:57):
She was pretty happy to see me.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:58):
She was happy.
Beth Demme (31:59):
She was pretty happy to see me.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:59):
She was excited to see you. She wanted a treat. So she's good. She's had her treat, she's sleeping like a greyhound, which is basically 18 hours a day.
Beth Demme (32:09):
Well, we found out that everything, not everything, that a lot of things with our son's college situation are changing. So he's moving down to Lakeland.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:21):
He's a freshman?
Beth Demme (32:22):
Yeah, he'll be a college freshman. He just graduated from high school. The plan at the college that he chose is that they would not do any quadruple or triple rooms, but his plan was always to request a double. And he's a very social person. He's extremely extroverted. And so him having a roommate made total sense to me because he kind of needs the energy of another person to feed off of. Well, they decided this week that they're not even going to do doubles, which means that not only does he not have a roommate, which I think will be okay, but it means that they're changing all of the housing assignments and the amount of anxiety and frustration and anger that that's creating in the community is really a lot. It's almost overwhelming.
Beth Demme (33:10):
We have a Facebook group that's just for parents of kids who are going to Florida Southern. So the way that it works at Florida Southern is that you are required actually to live on campus unless you happen to live in the city already, in Lakeland already. Because they're not going to have any doubles, triples or quadruples, they don't have housing for everyone. So they're moving sophomores, juniors and seniors to online classes.
Beth Demme (33:37):
And so a lot of people are very upset, and I completely understand why they're upset. A huge part of the college experience is to be on campus and to have that. And that's why they're making sure that the freshmen have that, so that they can at least kind of get started in it. But just the emotional weight of the anger and anxiety and the way people are lashing out, it has been quite a week.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:06):
Are they wearing masks when they're in classes?
Beth Demme (34:08):
Yes. They're required to wear a mask anytime they're not inside their single dorm room.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:13):
But he's going to classes?
Beth Demme (34:16):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:16):
Or his are online?
Beth Demme (34:17):
He will have in-person classes.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:19):
Beth Demme (34:19):
And they reduced the number of students in every class so that they can be socially distant in the classroom, which is not something that they're doing at the local public high school, where my daughter goes, they're not able to social distance there.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:37):
Is your daughter going back to actual school?
Beth Demme (34:39):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:39):
Like in person?
Beth Demme (34:40):
She's going to do face-to-face.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:42):
Are you comfortable with that? Do you think that's a safe bet?
Beth Demme (34:45):
Yeah. I've gone back and forth about it. There's a lot of virtue signaling that happens. So I actually have not gone public about this being our decision.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:56):
What does that mean?
Beth Demme (34:57):
Well, I'm going to explain it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:59):
What was the word?
Beth Demme (34:59):
Virtue signaling. So there's a lot of, well, if you send your child to face-to-face school, you must want teachers to die. Let's just be clear. I don't want teachers to die. But my daughter was in an online-only program and it was not what was best for her, and we specifically moved her to a face-to-face instruction model. And so as long as the face-to-face model is offered, it will be what we choose for her. If the school district decides that they cannot maintain a face-to-face model, then we'll deal with it.
Beth Demme (35:30):
But we have a different experience in our family than the families who've just always had face-to-face instruction and are like, "Well, no, that's just what we've always known, that we're going to do it." No, we've done the all-online learning. And we know that there are advantages and disadvantages to both. And so we're going to stick with the face-to-face for as long as we can.
Beth Demme (35:50):
I don't know how long the school will actually be open, but all of that is just to say that at least at the college where my son is going, they will be able to be socially distanced in the classroom. The way the campus is designed they have all exterior hallways. So there won't be like you've seen pictures online of high schools where there's 600 kids in the hallway. Well, that won't happen to him at college. He'll be in a different situation, although it is upsetting that things keep changing. And that's really hard. I do think everyone is trying to do their best.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:25):
This has been the Discovering Our Scars podcast. Thanks for joining us.