Missing Major Milestones Because of COVID-19

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — April 10, 2020 — 4 min read
I just got my wedding dress in the mail. I’m supposed to go in for a fitting next week, but that’s not going to happen. The bridal shop is closed indefinitely.

While I may be luckier than most brides-to-be in the time of COVID-19 (or #coronabrides, as many on Twitter and Instagram are calling them), I’ve still got to admit the flutter of disappointment in my stomach.

We would have been married on the summer solstice - June 20 - the longest day of the year. Our friends and family would have met us in Gatlinburg, Tenn., to spend the afternoon go-karting. The next evening, we would have exchanged rings on the mossy rocks near a creek that reminds me of my childhood.

As the severity of the pandemic progressed, my fiancé and I realized that we would be gambling with a June wedding date. We decided to reschedule for October. Our original venue was unavailable for our new wedding date. After calling other Gatlinburg venues, I found that most locations were already booked. Half of this year’s brides are rescheduling for the fall.

My fiancé and I are pretty bummed about the whole thing. And that’s okay.

It’s Okay to Be Sad about Missing Milestones

Many of our members are missing or postponing important events in their lives because of COVID-19, including events like:
  • College or high school graduation
  • Transitioning to community living
  • Senior year celebrations
  • Year-in-recovery anniversaries
  • Baby showers
  • Birthday trips
  • Semester studying abroad


  • Your feelings of loss are valid
  • You’re allowed to grieve those once-in-a-lifetime events
  • You are not selfish for feeling this way
  • You are not alone
Millions of others have saved up for now-canceled vacations. Some are celebrating big life events alone at home. It’s truly heartbreaking.

Show Empathy for Others and Compassion for Yourself

Empathy is when you try your best to understand the feelings and motivations of others. When someone doesn’t seem to get your disappointment, work to understand why they may be acting that way. Maybe they are worried about a family member who is high risk. Maybe they lost their job. Empathize with them, but also be compassionate with yourself.

Your feelings matter.

Tips for Coping with a Postponed or Canceled Event

If your major event has been postponed or canceled, here are a few ways to deal:

See if you can hold the event digitally.

While this won’t work for vacations, it could work for birthday parties or marking recovery anniversaries. The video conferencing app Zoom has a free plan that allows you to host unlimited online meetings up to 40 minutes long each.

Take this extra time to work out any details you may have missed before.

Did you want to learn that coordinated routine from YouTube for your first dance? Didn’t get the chance to create a detailed itinerary for your trip to Disney? Now you have the time!

If you’re rescheduling transportation, consider the great rates.

Airfare prices are dropping—even into the fall. If you were planning to drive, you might consider booking a flight if it’s in your budget. Also, many airlines have waived cancellation fees for those who bought their tickets before March.

Get excited—again!

Half the fun of a big event is the anticipation leading up to it. If possible, see this as an opportunity to turn back the clock. Create a countdown on your phone or computer. If you were supposed to start a new job, make a list of everything you want to accomplish once you’re working there. If you’re celebrating your recovery, pick a theme or get funny with the new date (for example, if you’re celebrating your first year in recovery three months late, make it a 1.25 Year Recovery Anniversary).

Remember that the event is canceled, not your accomplishment.

If you canceled an event celebrating an important milestone in your recovery, health status, or social wellbeing, you should still be proud of yourself. You did it!

Whether you’re postponing or canceling, tune in to your mental health.

Even if you can reschedule your event or vacation, the disappointment probably still hurts. Postponing a big milestone can surely affect your emotional wellbeing. Reach out to your support system to get help working through your feelings.

About the Author:
Elizabeth Durham is a Content Specialist on Cardinal Innovations’ Communications and Marketing Team.

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