You’re not “going crazy,” you are grieving.
Over the past few months, many people have shared their experiences of living through the quarantine and pandemic. Loss- and its resulting grief- has been a common thread in many of our stories.
We’ve battled illness, lost jobs, experienced the death of family members and friends to COVID-19, packed up college dorm rooms early, experienced isolation and loneliness, graduated without ceremonies, delivered babies alone, mourned without funerals, lost relationships and friendships, postponed weddings,.....and much more.
Here’s the deal, while many of us felt like we were handling the first few months of the pandemic reasonably well, the honeymoon is officially OVER!
The pandemic has lasted longer than most of us anticipated, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to see the end in sight. So, now, we're ordering masks like they're the latest fashion accessory (speaking for myself here!), hoarding bleach wipes and toilet paper (I see you….), buying stock in hand sanitizer, and preparing to send kids back to school with many unanswered questions.
I don’t know about you, but this isn’t exactly how I imagined August 2020’s debut. My dear readers, this is getting real!
Most people seek counseling following a loss because they feel like they're “going crazy.”
Grief causes many emotions that can make us feel this way. Here are a few:
My dear readers, all of humanity is suffering loss and experiencing grief amid the pandemic.
We are NOT “going crazy.” We are “going human.”
The undercurrent of exhaustion, anxiety, stress, fear, disappointment, loneliness, confusion, and sadness many among us are experiencing right now is grief.
We may find ourselves unusually sensitive to change, easily annoyed, or angry. These are also normal expressions of grief.
Perhaps we don’t feel like doing much of anything and are struggling to complete even the simplest of tasks. And, when we finally muster the energy to get something done, it is hard to focus or concentrate. It even may seem like the hours, days, weeks, and months are running together (how is it already AUGUST???). Yep, you guess it….these are normal grief reactions.
If you aren’t experiencing any of these, it may be that you haven’t yet fully acknowledged the reality of the pandemic’s weight.
Remember, grief is simply a result of our love. When we experience grief, we acknowledge that we deeply love and miss aspects of our lives that have been (temporarily or permanently) removed, restricted, or changed.
Instead of ignoring our past, present, and future losses caused by the pandemic, let’s try something new.....
Let’s acknowledge our collective losses and support one other in our collective grief.
To the teachers and professors preparing to educate from a distance without seeing your students’ faces and battling unknown health variables and fears: We acknowledge your loss and see your grief. It is real.
To the medical professionals wearing layers of PPE working to save our lives while exposing yourselves and your families to infection and risk: We acknowledge your loss and see your grief. It is real.
To the survivors who have suffered the deaths of your beloved parents, spouses, children, grandparents, friends, and family members to COVID-19: We acknowledge your loss and see your grief. It is real.
To the employees whose hours were reduced before furloughs and layoffs followed: We acknowledge your loss and see your grief. It is real.
To the college seniors who moved out of their dorms just after Spring Break, not yet able to participate in commencement: We acknowledge your loss and see your grief. It is real.
To the artists and performers who cannot share their gifts with audiences and feel the absence of creative expression: We acknowledge your loss and see your grief. It is real.
To the senior adults living alone or in facilities, unable to visit family and friends: We acknowledge your loss and see your grief. It is real.
To the parents bringing new life into a world that seems clouded by chaos and uncertainty: We acknowledge your loss and see your grief. It is real.
To all of my dear readers: I don't know your individual stories of loss amid the pandemic, but I imagine your lives are filled with experiences of both sorrow and joy, despair and hope….loss and love.
Today, I acknowledge your collective losses and see your collective grief.
This is real. This is shared.
You are not alone. We are not alone.