The past week has felt like a death in everyone’s family. 196 Year Tradition was given the ax because of an invisible microbe invading everywhere. I admit I do wish it was zombies at least with zombies, I know how to defeat them and I have a plan (no judging I have a zombie apocalypse plan). Anyways back to original topic for this post. The Kubler-Ross model of the Five Stages of Grief of course is the easiest way to describe what we in hospitality are feeling and some people have no idea what in the world I am referring to. I decided to break it down and try to explain to everyone what we are trying to wrap our heads around in the hospitality industry. The Five Stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
The denial was brief, we were preparing for this on Wednesday if they make the call to cancel. When the Mayor made the call, we were all like deer caught in headlights. The shock was very apparent, nobody ever thought this would be a thing. I have done this for twenty plus years, no one ever thought this parade would ever be cancelled, it hadn’t been cancelled sine World War II. It was almost a panic, Oh My God! They cancelled it. The influx of phone calls for cancellations was very alarming. I have been through several hurricanes and no mandatory evacuation order has ever equated to what is going on currently. I remember calling people for Hurricane Matthew telling them we were closed and people telling me they were showing up anyways. We are not cancelling they are cancelling, which is good people are taking this seriously but bad because who is going to pay my bills.
The frustration (anger) set in, with the influx of phone calls continued cancellations. First the NBA, the NHL, March Madness, The Masters (I can totally see this one bunch of old people watching golf), NASCAR, Baseball, I joked with a coworker what is ESPN going to do. When Disney shut its doors I knew it was bad. They are like the Waffle House of the travel industry, if they are open we are okay. They rarely cancel for hurricanes, I think last October was one of the few times I have ever seen that.
The helplessness (bargaining) shortly came filtering in, which lead to great hostility because people are screaming at you for screwing their vacation. Trust me, that is the last thing I wanted was to have your vacation cancelled (you pay my bills). The amount of events and festivals that were cancelled in the past 48 hours, left me emotionally and physically exhausted. The museums started closing which made me even question, everything including will I still be employed by the end of April? Begging, pleading with God (or whomever your go to person is) please let me still be employed has become part of my lexicon (especially after someone or something cancels).
The depression, wow the depression has been there. I had several very good months, of everything going fantastic. I feel like someone just threw everyone off a cliff and are like here you go. No, you are not allowed to leave the house and be with others, you must stay isolated so you don’t spread anything. I am an extrovert, I like being outside, I like being around people if I didn’t I would not be able to do my job. I have become more of an introvert recently because people can be exhausting, so I don’t network as much as I use to. I actually like going home and spending time with my family, LEGO Masters is an amazing bonding for all of us. Last night, I opted to stay home opposed to going to see the last performance for the Children’s Theater in case I has been exposed at work. I couldn’t do that to anyone, who just wanted to see their grandchild perform. I am better today, I started channeling my energy to help others. I started reaching out to prominent people in Savannah to help others by maybe waiving the parking fees for 30 days. I also called every single museum to see their schedule, some are day to day, others are closed till the end of the month. I then passed all this information onto fellow concierges. We are a tight-knit bunch and have each others back. The scariest thing is nobody knows when this will end and how long will it take to recover.
(Took a break to hear the Pipe & Drums play Amazing Grace).
I will say I did get to hear bagpipers today and it made me very happy and for a brief moment it felt like St. Patrick’s Day of years past. I almost cried when they played Amazing Grace it was beautiful, the song has been played at every funeral I have ever attended as a send off to let us know everything will be okay. The pipe and drum players were comforting us with music we have all heard before in our time of need. After they played, I felt better maybe it was my brain saying it is going to be okay, you will get past this, everyone will and you can do it, keep going!
If you feel like you need to talk to someone please call National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. They are there to help.