HE.S.T.A.F.T.A. - Scientific Society of Mental Health Professionals

MAPPING CONCEPTS OF BONDING AND LOSS IN THE AGE OF CORONAVIRUS - COVID-19

    Mapping Concepts of Bonding and Loss in the Age of Coronavirus - Covid-19

    Kia Thanopoulou, MSc, EuroPsy psychologist, systemic psychotherapist,

    Family Therapy Unit, Psychiatric Hospital of Attica.

    Τranslation: Helle Wagner, MSc Psychology, Psychomotor therapist and Systemic Process Consultant

    Abstract : The prolonged presence of the pandemic in our country changed our everyday lives violently and abruptly, knocking down all certainty and putting our endurance to a test. The meaning of basic concepts of social bonding has changed. Accordingly, the field of psychotherapy and education was forced to adapt to the restrictions imposed by the covid-19 situation, resulting in a fair amount of changes in the settings of therapy and education alike with the extended use of the internet. Furthermore, the pandemic brought about many questions concerning the handling of mourning. How does death during the pandemic affect the mourning process? What impact do silent and unaccompanied burials have? What happens in our psyche when we lose parts of our social connection? Will this experience be a lesson to us? The importance of accepting and being conscious of our own strengths and limitations and the value of our true ties to others, with sensitivity and respect, might be more important than ever.

    Keywords : Pandemic, Corona-virus, normality, psychotherapy, education, internet, mourning, unaccompanied death, connection.

    Introduction

    The words are to blame. They encouraged things to happen little by little

    Dimoula

    It has been almost a year since we were faced with an unprecedented health crisis, a pandemic. 2020 was the year we were all called upon to use, in the beginning for the first time and then, for countless more times, words like: “Coronavirus”, or ”Covid”, “quarantine”, “lockdown”, “social distancing”, “pandemic”, “underlying medical conditions”, “diaspora”, “isolation”, “individual responsibility”, “I can’t hear you, can you see me?”, “check your connection”, “Are you on mute?”. The words are to blame. They encouraged things to happen little by little, the Greek poet Dimoula, says. Words have power, they convey significance and meaning. The spread of the virus was followed by all these words, which in turn defined, and almost imposed a reality that has affected us and still does, without us knowing its consequences and its mental imprints.

    Living with the coronavirus

    The rhythm of the World changed in me

    Vizyinos, G.

    The new Covid-imposed reality, altered the landscape of normality violently and abruptly, causing a severe disorder in our habits. The rhythm of the world has changed within us, as the poet would say. The world, as we knew it, was overturned, transformed, and everything became something else, something unfamiliar.

    Our life has changed, not even the one we will live is predictable. The coronavirus, as a new kind of Sphinx, blocks the way and poses riddles (Ferruta, 2020). Being inside the house became synonymous with security and being outside the house threatening, forbidden. The meaning of basic concepts has changed. Touching, which was formerly associated with comfort, warmth and love, now signified danger. Kissing has turned into a source of infection, instead of a sign of love. Gatherings with loved ones are experienced as a source of threat and transmission of the infection, instead of a source of joy. The pandemic places us in a position of responsibility for- and accountability to others. Everyone is individually responsible for the spread of the virus and the possibility of infecting others.

    Under these conditions, the face mask became a permanent accessory, along with our computer or mobile phone. With the necessary use of the mask, if we want to be in the physical presence of others, we no longer have a complete picture of their faces. As Charalampaki (see Alavanou, Donofrio, Skaglioni and Charalampaki, 2020) aptly writes, the other person is now like a fragment of a shattered ancient statue’s head, where we try to guess what the whole must have been like. We forgot the smile, the sound of the voice, which sometimes sounds distorted through the mask. At other times, human contact has been replaced by the screen. The closeness of physical presence became virtual. The face, albeit whole in this case, lacks however, the immediacy of the real world encounter with the other person. The liveliness and the embodiment of communication is absent. All this bodyless contact often triggers issues of loneliness and isolation, especially in people living alone.

    The first quarantine had, for some of us, something pleasant and comforting, a pause, an opportunity for more time at home, for things we did not have time to do before. Parents and children enjoyed moments they formerly could not, due to exhausting schedules.

    In the process, the prolonged co-existence, without the opportunities for escaping like in our life before (i.e. outings, friends, work), created an enclosed landscape. In this "inside" we came in contact with our endurance and our traumas, with the anxiety, the tensions and the anger towards a space that does not contain and does not fit, but narrows and encloses. We were confronted with how much we can stand - or cannot stand - each other, so, as was expected, pre-existing conflicts and difficulties that had remained inactive and unprocessed, were reactivated. Managing "together" and "separately" has become more imperative than ever.

    In the context of the covid era, we swayed and tried to reconcile conflicting needs: security vs. freedom, fear vs. denial of danger, proximity vs. distance. Difficult balances with many dilemmas. Everything inside and outside of us had to be filtered through the need to limit the transmission of this unknown tiny spherical virus with its many thorny spikes, which paralyzes mental defences, immobilizes thought and triggers primal and unbearable paranoid stressors that threaten our internal coherence (this also concerns all theories of conspiracy and denial/ for more information see Marketos, 2020).

    Psychotherapy and education in the age of coronavirus

    First, let us look at how the advent and spread of covid affected the landscape of treatment. First of all, the therapeutic scene was flooded with news from the external reality, the news of the coronavirus. The first topic of discussion was the virus and the restrictions it imposed. We could not not talk about it, because it would be like denying everything we were experiencing. On the other hand, we wondered what psychotherapy can be performed when there is too much reality? In addition to the invasion of external reality, we necessarily also experienced the invasion of technology. The context, a very important element of treatment, was modified, especially in the first phase of quarantine. The sessions were done via skype, zoom or phone. During this phase, we would remind our patients of their own participation in the protection of the context. The screen seems to alter the texture of the proximity and the consequent intimacy. We see faces closer up (without the mask) and become more sensitive in hearing the cracks in their voices. Perhaps in this way of communication pauses and silences become more awkward, more difficult to contain, due to the distance, and sometimes our voices, due to internet delays, overlap each other, eliminating the space in between. Moreover, we also see ourselves as we look at our clients, something that, perhaps, reminds us that what is happening and is being constructed between us, the therapeutic relationship, is what will become the safe mental space of processing and healing. And it will lead to new meanings and openings. The bond with our clients is the antidote to any trauma and to the pandemic itself.

    Gradually, more and more clients return to the physical space of therapy with the necessary use of the face mask. They are tired of using the internet. No one likes the new reality as it established itself in our lives. We often hear the words sadness, fear, boredom, fatigue, anger, loneliness, despair, health, illness, I have no news, things have just been the same. They are the patients who feel that their life has become trapped in the same monotonous rhythm – that they are carrying out routines - and sometimes this futility and lack of meaning, that characterizes their life, is also brought into the therapy room.

    Some other clients bring back memories of confinement, such as during the dictatorship, or a disease that had meant a break in their lives and an adaptation to new conditions, or an abusive environment that has immobilized their psyche.

    "The pandemic for me is life-saving in terms of mask use," says a client, with a history of trauma, disarmingly. She is relieved that no one sees her face; she doesn’t want others to see her expressions and feelings. The mask is experienced as a kind of a shield, a protection.

    Another client comments: "I went back many years, to events from my childhood that I wanted to eliminate. It was very painful for me, I did not have any shelter, maybe only my school and my grandmother, until she died. My parents had similar experiences as well, growing up in difficult conditions, and they repeated them with me. I would like more freedom of movement, and I had bans, punishments. I learned to cope on my own, not to come into conflict. I locked myself into myself, I lived in quarantine conditions before the pandemic ".

    Difficult moments come up in the therapy and sometimes the mask is momentarily removed to wipe away a tear, to release a sob, to take a breath from the painful emotions that emerge.

    The cessation of normality and the cessation of life, as we knew it, brought to the surface old wounds and wounds that came to light again, in need of a new narrative and a new reading.

    At other times the fear - and the threat - of death invade the therapy room. These are the times when a family member has fallen ill with Covid-19. A terrified patient calls me and tells me that both her parents tested positive. Her father, who belongs to a vulnerable group (he has a heart problem), is currently showing milder symptoms, while the mother, despite being "healthy", has a five-day fever that won’t go down and her body aches. There is the fear that it may develop into pneumonia, which will make hospitalisation necessary, at a time when the health system is blocked. My client is constantly in touch with the doctor about how to manage her mother's health condition and she is very stressed. She is afraid something might go wrong, that the worst will happen. The fact that both her parents are sick with the virus paralyzes her, and she trembles at the thought of both of them dying. At first she had suggested to her father, who was the most vulnerable, to go and stay in another vacant house, but he was adamant, he did not want to leave his wife alone. We can imagine how many dilemmas there are in situations such as this, that one is confronted not only with the virus but also with oneself, one's values ​​and priorities.

    Another clinical observation is that for some other clients, the interruption of the flow of life due to the pandemic, gave them the necessary transitional space to negotiate, on a mental level, the management of near and far. As an example I will refer to a family that started treatment initiated by their concerns for their nineteen-year-old son who had become inactive at university. He did not attend lectures, did not take exams and instead spent hours playing computer games. The family was initially trapped in a vicious cycle of pressure, control and failure. Gradually, the change in his parents' attitude towards him, the fact that through the internet the university came to him, eased the anxiety, and the panic. That became for him the transition to a new reality of student life. The son began to act, to take his exams and to pass them, the parents stopped treating him as a problem, they acknowledged his little progress, and sometimes, they even met each other constructively as adults. At this stage, they are still worried that their son does not go out but prefers to meet friends online, however they realize that with the coronavirus, their son's attitude is viewed as socially acceptable and temporarily safe. In their therapy, moreover, they began focusing on the inside of their own relationship as a couple, recognizing their own isolation and alienation from each other, which, the more they discuss, the more bridges towards one another they build, opening, at the same time, a path for their son’s passage to the outside world. As Whitaker noted, family therapy begins as a blind date and ends in an empty nest.

    Occasionally, again in the therapy room, the clinical observation of the insignificant or even the ephemeral emerges. The patients, locked in their homes and trapped in the monotony of their daily lives attempt a small getaway by noticing things that, perhaps, previously, in the hustle of everyday life, were overlooked or not payed attention to. They bring to the therapy small moments of ease and daydreaming (e.g. they can talk about a beautiful scenery from their window, about a bird singing, about music that touched them, about a hot cup of coffee they enjoyed, about a nice walk in the park) in an attempt to make sense of this dystopian and gloomy reality we live. Moments in which - like the young child playing with insignificant materials - they try to construct their own world of meaning, in search of what is really important in life, in an attempt to make reality bearable and, therefore, more comprehensible. As Freud (1908) states, play is a serious matter for the child, and the opposite of play is not seriousness but reality.

    In an interview in the newspaper "Kathimerini", Manolopoulos mentions that in this time of the pandemic we try to create intermediate spaces, deadlines, glades of security, full of emotion, meaning and pleasure. The interval between sound and meaning is poetry, said Valerie. In that time, Manolopoulos comments, the feeling of the ephemeral is created (from an article by Spyropoulou M, in "Kathimerini", 19/1/21).

    A patient talks about the following incident from her life: She describes a day when she met a friend, whom she hadn’t seen for a while. She had a good time, relaxed and forgot. As she returned home, she saw the relatively empty streets but did not pay attention (one part of her was used to it, the other denied it, as if nothing had ever changed). At one point, she calls her boyfriend on his mobile, to ask if he wanted her to bring him take away, and he brings her back to reality by, abruptly, asking her: “Are you living in a time capsule?". And then, suddenly, she returns from Wonderland to the Land of Trauma and Pandemic. Reality came back with its limitations and defeats. We commented on the need for daydreaming, for play. "Today I was playing like it were a normal day, just like before.” “I was fooling myself.” “I needed it, it seems”, she said.

    We experienced similar conditions in therapy, when we had the snowfall. Some clients (those who did not have electricity blackout) woke up that day and the white landscape they were met with filled them with unprecedented joy and playfulness, antidotes to the boredom and monotony of isolation and constraint.

    Dreams also come up in therapy, dreams that are woven into the current social reality of the pandemic. The dreaming clients speak of dreams involving the police as authority and control, the failure to send text messages in order to be allowed outside, the absence of gatherings, empty spaces. Dreams that reflect anxiety, confusion, uncertainty, insecurity. Dreams that seek openings in thinking and understanding, as an attempt to make sense of their story. I will mention a coronavirus dream.

    "I was out with my sister and there were a lot of people who did not keep their distance. It was a demonstration, something like that, they were protesting against the measures. There was a sense of suspicion concerning who is with whom. The police came and threw tear gas. "My sister and I escape to a rooftop and because our clothes smell, we are considering what to do, because the smell of our clothes incriminated us by placing us at the demonstration.”

    Comments on the dream:

    We are accountable to an authority that makes us feel that whatever we do is wrong. Lots of stress, anxiety and confusion, who are we, who are the others? It was as if it was shameful to be outside. The measures, a constantly moving bar. In the dream we ran away, ultimately we did not understand what was forbidden. Was the demonstration forbidden? Or was the problem that we did not keep our distance? I was not sure what the right thing was. There was, however, no trust in the police. There is a smell of violence, not protection. There is an asymmetric use of violence, to which we are adjusting. Even the way priorities are set through restrictive measures, even that could be considered as violence. I wondered how long it was since I had gone out, had fun, rejoiced, seen a show, dined with friends. On Saturday, I felt like a bore and I had forgotten that it is not just me, it’s not my failure. The conditions are tiring. I think we have been brainwashed to think that everything is an individual choice.

    Regardless, whether through technology or in physical proximity, our function and role as therapists remains to listen, to reflect, to empathize, to create space for thought, to respond, to accompany, to encourage the process and to generate synthesis and meaning for our clients.

    Apart from the therapy, another function of the Family Therapy Unit, affected by the pandemic crisis, was our educational program.
A question that concerned us was what we would do with the continuation of the training program. After a two-week recess due to the pandemic, we thought of proposing to connect, remotely this time, through zoom, which allows many people to communicate at the same time. We sent a letter to the students assessing that in the current conditions it was important to stay connected and keep a thread of continuity. And so it happened. I convey to you somewhat briefly the process of the educational group. “Reconnecting-continuing in a different way, in a different setting, after the violent and abrupt interruption of the meetings of our training group. The context has changed a lot. It is new. Unprecedented. Now, it didn’t take place in the Unit in Pagrati but in each one’s home. Everyone from their own safe place. We were not in the familiar circle, but in front of the computer screen. We felt, simultaneously, very far but also very close. We missed Thursday, as we had known it for three years now, the space, the time, the place of the team, but we also had a beautiful sense of closeness - our children, our personal belongings... although privacy was definitely lacking, there were interruptions and sometimes a bad connection.

    Things are changing around us. I ask myself what do I have, what do I lose, what remains and I reply that some things remain the same, like the relationships, the relationship within our group. They are all there and they are welcoming me, smiles, hope, smileys. Despite the conditions of exclusion, isolation and fear we are experiencing, we can find ways to stay connected. We do not need to re-introduce ourselves as we might have feared. Perhaps we need to change. We will definitely lose something, let's loose as little as possible. The caring, the trust, the bond, make us feel that we are a team, who may not be able, at the time being, to meet on close hold, but we do feel close to each other. Our acquaintance with that group began years ago and the connections still exist today ".

    I would like to add that the group at that time was in its third year of training and everybody had to present his/her genealogy chart, a very important and experiential moment. Due to the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus, we faced many dilemmas about how this could practically take place. Eventually, the group decided to go outside, in the open public space, in order to connect closely. The genograms were spread out in the park and the group circled around, somewhat uncomfortably but also with an internalized security, and began to unravel the thread of the narrative. Of course, there was no shortage of problems, as some park visitors, who were walking their dogs, treated us as intruders and unwanted. The threat came not only from the pandemic itself, but also from others, strangers, strangers inside and around us, reminding us that what is happening inside and outside of us is building the walls of our alienation as Kavafis would put it.

    This present school year, at the beginning of the training, we negotiated the matter of distance and proximity again. We had a grand plan of changing the meeting place, to ensure a physical presence. The small rooms at the Unit were not large enough, due to the distance required by pandemic measures and we found a solution to temporarily move to another, much larger space. A plan that failed due to the new restraining measures. The groups went on online, with protests against the loss of normality, the loss of close connections, and the search for solutions, looking for alternatives, flirting with the illusion of a magic fix that would bring us in contact with the yearning for closeness. However, in the end we came to the conclusion that we had to adapt. That was the beginning of reality.
Furthermore, for the first time in the 27 years of the Unit’s existence, we decided not to have a new class of training. The pandemic seemed now like a marathon, in depth and duration that tested and questioned our endurance.

    The experience of mourning in the time of the coronavirus

    Like only two steps is the distance between have and had(lost).

    Dimoula, K.

    _The virus, when travelling along the cracks of a society, excessively dedicated to pleasure and denial of death, exposes our weaknesses and failures -  shows us just how fragile our identities, or the safeness of our group is _ (Jamieson, 2020).

    The pandemic crisis marks a violent rupture in the continuum of our lives, and brings us face to face with a sense of confusion, disorganization and a fear of being lost. We are like small children that have lost their mother.  A pandemic is a collective trauma that destroys meaning. The way we see ourselves, the world and others is shaken and overturned. We suffer multiple experiences of loss, from the disruption of our daily lives, especially our freedom of movement and contact with others, to the loss of the definition of our relationships. The other person as a social acquaintance is lost, since under the current circumstances, he becomes a potential carrier of the virus. Thus, the warmth of "belonging" is also lost. Being close to a loved one is no longer synonymous with safety, while distance and isolation, on the other hand, create a framework for safety against the risk and threat of the transmission of the virus.

    The harm of the pandemic reminds us of the fragility, uncertainty and instability of our human nature. The sense of human domination over life and nature was nothing but an illusion that collapsed like a house of cards. In our state of mourning, we are called upon to reconsider and reconstruct some of our fundamental constructs, like for instance that our world is safe, predictable, and controllable, and that we can protect our loved ones from whatever might put them in danger.

    Death, loss and separation are extremely frightening themes, for the western man and are often surrounded by silence and denial. We live in a time without mourning. The pandemic, on the other hand, revealed the sovereign right of death over life. How can one forget the images of coffins and mass graves in Bergamo, Italy, the Bronx and Brazil?

    How does death in the coronavirus era affect the mourning process? Patients with covid-19 are treated in isolated wards, unprepared and unaccompanied, alone in illness and, unfortunately, alone in death as well. We can perceive the burden of their loneliness, when even the medical staff cannot have contact with them, as they are locked in their “space suits”. In addition, we can understand how difficult handling the mourning is for the relatives, who, because of the ban, due to the contagion of the virus, cannot be close to them in their last moments, to talk to them, to embrace them and say goodbye. This condition of silent, unaccompanied death is experienced traumatically, both by relatives and the sick, as well as by the medical and the paramedical staff. The relatives experience guilt as a dominant emotion, for leaving their family members to die alone, whilst some maintain the belief that if they had been close to them they might had managed to survive.

    Furthermore, another condition that complicates the mourning process is that, again for health reasons, only a few relatives are allowed to be present at the burial ritual. The fundamental need to honour the dead now seems, in the current circumstances, prohibitive and dangerous to physical health. What are the consequences of these silent and unaccompanied burials? What happens to our psyche when we lose elements of our social bond?

    A client, discussing the loss of a colleague, for whom she had very warm feelings, said, that the fact that she could not go to the funeral due to restraining measures, was something that had cost her and she considered as another loss. A part of her mourning remained incomplete, meteoric. At the age of 21, she had lost her mother to cancer and after some years, she began psychotherapy. She remembers how important the attentive looks of the people she loved were, at her mother's funeral. How much support and comfort they gave her. We agreed, that for relatives who mourn loved ones, the very small number of people in the ceremony is also a loss, at a time when connecting with the community of significant others is a source of strength and sharing of pain. On the day of the funeral, the people gather to bid farewell to the deceased, and each one carries a different relationship or side of the person who is gone. One person is many. They are all those who are inside him, next to him, before him and after him. The process of mourning takes place in the space where the psychological meets the social. Mourning is never just an individual matter, but also a social event, as it takes place through an active interaction, in a community of significant others, who, as they witness and share our grief, can facilitate or hinder our adjustment to loss (Thanopoulou, 2014).

    Baudrilard (2020) argues that mourning ceremonies are a kind of symbolic exchange between the living and the dead that give meaning to the loss, but also to life, creating a kind of protection against death. It is a symbolic act of remembrance, which allows us differentiation from the dead. When society cannot mourn the dead, it essentially retains them as living-dead, unburied. The impossible mourning is transmitted across generations. The dead return haunted.

    Today, in our non-mourning times, the conditions imposed by the pandemic can contribute to the rejection of mourning all together, and this will only have negative consequences for our culture. The Italian philosopher Agamben aptly wonders "what will human ties become in a country that is accustomed to living in such a way and what will become of a society that has no values other than survival?" (from a text by Athanasopoulou D. in the newspaper "Efymerida ton Syntakton", 12/4/20).

    The Wounded Community

    The touching photo (by a photojournalist, from the Getty agency) of a doctor in a protective suit, mask, face shield, gloves embracing an elderly patient with corona virus at the ICU at United Memorial Hospital in Houston, Texas, on Thanksgiving day, travels around the world and becomes a symbol of the distress of patients with corona virus and of the compassion of the medical staff.

    “I was in the COVID unit and saw this elderly patient, who had gotten out of bed, was trying to leave and was crying," says Dr Joseph Barron, head of the intensive care unit at United Memorial. I approached him and asked him "why are you crying?". He told me: "I want to be with my wife". I hugged him ", said the doctor, adding that he did not know that he was being photographed. "He was just crying, but after a while he felt better and stopped," the doctor added, stating that he too felt "desperate", "sad, like him”.

    In this moving photo, empathy, care, tenderness, compassion are transformed into action. The doctor, the caregiver, the nurse, the therapist, are also hurt, vulnerable and defenceless in the pain and despair of the people they are called to care for (about 20% of health care workers have symptoms of post-traumatic stress). The consciousness of the other person’s pain makes us human. And, as the Italian psychoanalyst Massimo Recalcati aptly points out: " The virus is the definitive death of the individualist ideology. No one is saved on his own. This is its traumatic lesson " (from an article by Spyropoulou M, in the newspaper "Kathimerini", 13/4/20). As Mead argues, “ caring for someone in need - not technology, religion or anything else - is the earliest trace of human civilization.”

    The greatest healer of pain in Greek mythology was an injured healer named Chiron. The etymology of his name implies that he healed through the touch of his hand. Chiron, who was a charismatic centaur (half human-half horse), was accidentally hurt in the knee by a student of his, Hercules, and this accident forced him to slow down and pay attention to the equine part of his body, the part that had caused his mother to abandon him at birth and consequently mentally traumatised him. According to Kearney (1996) Chiron's reputation as a great healer was related to his ability to express empathy and compassion for the wounds of others. In the ancient myths about healing, healers had the power to heal, precisely because they were vulnerable to trauma and pain (Goldberg, 1991). The myth of the injured healer reminds us of the importance of recognizing and accepting our own strengths and limitations and the value of connecting with others, with authenticity, sensitivity and respect. Lou Cozolino (2004) in his book “The making of a Therapist" asks the question: "What makes a good therapist?" and he replies: "The courage to face his fears, his limits and his uncertainty”.

    Epilogue

    Do not forget that this too will pass.

    Sufi poet Attar from Persia

    All pandemics will end. Don’t forget that this too will pass, Bukai (2011) comforts us, through the words of the poet Attar. Will we be able to learn a lesson from what we are going through? Will we learn from each other through co-learning as Bateson says?

    "Will we be able to repel the monsters we hide inside us with the power of love and brotherhood?

    Will we be able to put into practice the inner reformation that will make us better?

    Will we be able to inhabit the earth "poetically"?

    Will it be possible to make that reality and thereby save humanity?

    "Nothing is certain, neither the best but nor the worst."

    (Moren E., 2001).

    "So what am I afraid of?", Giordano (2020) asks, in his book on the pandemic. “I fear all the things that the pandemic can change around me, lest our culture turns out to be a house of cards. I am afraid of decimation and collapse, but also the opposite, lest this wave of fear leaves no trace, lest it passes without changing anything or, in the words of Camus (1947), the greatest fear is that I will be plagued, that I will transmit the plague ".

    What matters is not what happens to us, but how we choose to respond, how we process it. Personally, I maintain my belief in resilience and in the strengths and reserves that we hide within us in the crack that lets the light in, in the life force that will find the crack and will flourish.

    Eliot's “The Waste Land" (1922) - recently translated by the Greek poet Vlavianos,  - originally written when the Spanish flu epidemic broke out, killing almost fifty million people, - closes with three characteristic words from Sanskrit: "Datta", "Dayantwam", "Damyata": "Give", “Empathize", "Command". This is what we are called to do now: To "give" to those who need our love and care, to "empathize" with those who hurt and suffer and to "command", that is, to take all the measures necessary to protect our lives and the lives of our fellow human beings (from a text by Vlavianos in "Kathimerini", 6/4/20).

    And perhaps, then, we reappear in the world and in public like Clarissa Dalaway (from Virginia Woolf's novel "Mrs. Dalaway", 1925) who, as survivor of the pandemic - fragile and passionate - crosses the streets of a noisy London with a recovered right to mourning and joy, holding like a precious bodily knowledge, a different sense of the complex importance of both contact and distance (Athanassiou, 2020).

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    Spyropoulou, Μ.( 2020, Αpril 13). No one is saved on his own. Kathimerini _. _   https://www.kathimerini.gr/ [in Greek].

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    ARTICLE 7/ ISSUE 18, April 2021

    Education in the time of postmodernity or the ephemeral

    Kalliopi Economou, Special Educator at Child Mental Health Center of Athens, Msc Special Education
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