Last night I got to hop on a zoom call with about 25 of my colleagues in Oregon. I was excited to see the email that chose a time that I could join them from afar. Being far from home, in a country halfway across the world from your family, not doing the thing you feel like you were created to do, even though you know that there is a reason you are in this place at this time, makes the whole social isolation thing even more isolating. To have a chance to connect to people that are my colleagues became vital yesterday to feel as though I was still connected to that world even though far away. At one point one of my colleagues said he was watching a tv show in which a therapist expert said that many people throughout this will feel something like grief. He looked up then and said, “It’s not like grief…it IS grief! We grieve things lost and so many of us are feeling loss right now at what were expecting, the world as we think it should be, etc. It is a process of grief.”
In that moment, I thought, “well of course it is!” But I have really been thinking about this today. So many of us are in the process of active grieving. For some, this doesn’t effect us as much but many of us are really grieving the loss of the way our life is and will be. On a first level, I am grieving that we had to cancel three trips over these next two months that I was really looking forward to. I am grieving that my partner’s sister had to postpone her wedding that we were all looking forward to and I keep thinking about her and sending them love. She couldn’t have planned for a worldwide pandemic even though they spent so much time planning for everything else and it will happen but that means extra stress and planning and months that they were looking forward to being married now they must way.
I am grieving that there will still be things probably cancelled. I am praying that I still get to go home in May but each moment makes me think that I will need to cancel that trip. I am grieving that nothing is really the same after this and things will be lost…businesses, people, time. I am grieving that I can’t be out and about in the world right now.
And I know that so many others are grieving loss of jobs, time, their loved ones, etc. There is so much more to grieve than what I have to grieve but also it is ok to acknowledge loss and sadness over whatever our expectations were and what is happening now. I know that I am privileged and blessed in my current position. I am grateful for being with my partner during this time. I am grateful for technology and connecting with friends and family. I am grateful that we have had adventures right before this period in time. I am blessed to have food and warmth.
But we are collectively grieving which brings out all sorts of things in humankind. Our minds can be blurry with anxiety or we lose sleep. Things can seem outside of ourselves and emotions run all over the place. It is normal…so is denial and anger.
So, friends, take care of your heart, connect with each other and acknowledging the grief can be an important and worthy note.