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VPM Audio Diaries: Grief, Hope and Mindful Moments During Coronavirus

Lucretia Anderson and son Parker practice breath work with eyes closed and hands folded together.
Educator, actor and life coach Lucretia Anderson and her son Parker practice breath work to reduce anxiety and create a sense of calm. (Courtesy: Lucretia Anderson)

What’s it like being a parent, teacher, service industry worker or artist as we respond to the coronavirus? VPM has asked people in the community to record audio diaries of their experiences. Lucretia Anderson is a mom, English teacher, actor, writer and life coach in Richmond.

Listen to more of Lucretia's Audio Diaries at VPM's Soundcloud page

Music from Architect by Blue Dot Sessions. 

Wednesday March 18, 2020

Lucretia Anderson: So over the last few days, as I'm watching and experiencing all the repercussions that come with this pandemic, I think, first of, you know, denial and not wanting to get into panic mode. Then quickly getting into panic mode when things changed pretty rapidly for me as a teacher, and then also being home with my own preteen and teenager and helping them get through this. And me as a life coach and a mindfulness coach, I am wrestling with maintaining my own sense of sanity, figuring out what the new normal is for us, and doing my best to help keep others calm and reflect and having a sense of hope-- and trying to see some of the brighter side and all of this.

What's really been devastating is the shutdown of local businesses and the theater community that I'm a part of. There are so many productions that are already in progress, that were getting ready for their first performances, and the entire rest of the spring season is canceled due to the quarantine. And so there are a lot of people in the theater community who not only count on that work for, you know, their income. But there's just a sense of grief over having put so much time and effort into rehearsing a play, producing a play, putting your heart and soul into a project like that. And then in the blink of an eye, it's just over.

So we have a lot of people who are hard hit with that reality, not to mention the loss of income from current and future contracts for the foreseeable future. Hopefully, you know, this quarantine will allow us to overcome this virus pretty quickly. Minimize the spread pretty quickly. But it's devastating. 

I did have the pleasure of joining and with a group of other theatre folk last evening. We kind of got together to do a little social distancing together. But it was really lovely to actually gather out in the grassy median along Monument Avenue, surrounded by candles and blankets and singing bowls, and just keeping our distance but also just chatting about how we're feeling about all of this and hearing from people about their advice and ideas and just connecting with the sorrow, the sense of loss that we're all feeling and then just allowing ourselves to be energized by each other as well. And being energized by the singing bowls kind of vibrating and allowing us to dig a little deeper and and doing some inner work which I think we're all being called to do right now. I think the isolation is really allowing us to take some time to really focus on what's going on internally. It's hard work. It's scary. It fills us with a lot of anxiety. But we don't have a lot of other choices right now, so might as well.

The sun sets on the James River in Richmond.
The Andersons capture a peaceful sunset on the James River after seeing a few too many people gathering on Brown's Island. (Courtesy: Lucretia Anderson)

Thursday March 19, 2020

Lucretia: So the kids and I have been trying to get outside at least once a day during this quarantine and get some exercise. And today we decided to go down to the river and I think I had it in my head that we would not necessarily be alone, but that we would have very few people around us...  Lots of rafters out here, lots of people kayaking, definitely not social distancing. There are so many people out here, it does happen to be a beautiful day, which I’m sure people couldn’t resist. But definitely people are not self-quarantining. So I'm just trying to keep our distance as much as possible and asking the kids not to touch anything or anyone and turn their heads away from people as we pass by.  

Parker Anderson: This is definitely more than 200 people out here!

Lucretia: … and try to keep to ourselves a little bit.


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Lucretia: Parker and I have been doing some mindfulness moments throughout our week and quarantine. We're gonna do, what's it called?

Parker: A hot cocoa mug. What you have to do is like cup your two hands together. And like if you blow on a hot cocoa too much, then you know, it'll blow everywhere. So we kind of have to just like, breathe lightly on it. And so we're gonna do that. 

(Lucretia and Parker do the breathing exercise)

Parker: It helps you to slow down your breathing and to center yourself and calm yourself down if you’re angry or something like that.

Parker Anderson gets some fresh air in Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery.
The Andersons took a walk in Hollywood Cemetery to find a place with good social distancing. (Photo: Lucretia Anderson)

Thursday March 26, 2020

Lucretia: So what gives you hope? After being home for a couple of weeks and just being together and doing some mindfulness stuff?

Parker: That's a good question. I feel good about it. You know, like staying home all day every day was kind of tiring and I kind of missed all my friends at school and I kind of miss school. But I still can hang out with my family and my cat. 

Lucretia: It gives me hope that this time together will allow us to actually just be stronger as a family. So I'm hoping that some of what we've been doing and some have been sharing with other people give them some hope for making it through this time, too.