Anna Ortiz Spencer
2 min readApr 9, 2023

“Everyone can master a grief but he that has it.” — William Shakespeare

The first time I came across one of these posts, it felt like all the air was sucked out of the room. Then the posts and hashtags seemed to multiply overnight. Social media users around the globe were marking the three-year anniversary of the Covid-19 pandemic with posts romanticizing the lockdown. People were nostalgic for school closings, endless Netflix marathons, closed businesses, and life without alarm clocks. I get it, the pandemic affected each of us differently. We’re not supposed to judge trauma or anyone’s reaction to it. Still, I sit here asking myself, did I miss something?

2020 CHANGED MY LIFE. The losses cannot be undone. The disappointment will never go away. The heartbreak will forever endure. Today I read posts and articles, listen to podcasts, and watch videos of people trying to find a silver lining and paint a rosy picture of the pandemic and I don’t get it. Why?

Author Bessel Van Der Kolk writes that trauma comes back as a reaction, not a memory. That’s where I am. The pandemic is not a memory for me. There is no nostaligia. Covid-19 left a lasting impact on each one of us. I don’t begrudge anyone their own interpretation of the events that took place. I truly believe we were all in survival mode…and with 1,000,000+ lives lost in the United States and many more worldwide…some of us are still just surviving.

Empty Chairs, Everywhere is a personal grief diary as I process the loss of my Mother to COVID-19.