Why we are all grieving something
This is not the blog I initially intended to write but it would be remiss of me not to talk about the unprecedented situation we currently all find ourselves in. Everything seems to have changed so quickly, meaning it is hard to even comprehend how things might be in a weeks’ time, let alone a month. Therefore, I shall start at the beginning…
Since the outbreak of Corvid-19, it has felt like our lives resemble that of a Hollywood movie storyline. Whilst I have always enjoyed such films as 28 Days Later, and the resulting discussions as to what we would do in a zombie apocalypse, it now strikes a little bit too close to home as our city streets lay empty and childrens’ play areas are a no-go zone. For a short time, just before the lockdown, life on the surface seemed to carry on as it always had done. Walking home from the park that Monday before the announcement, I could have easily fooled myself into thinking it was all happening somewhere else, to other people. But the reality soon hit as I observed a delivery man wearing a mask and gloves to drop off a parcel. Such a simple and everyday task was now something that required personal protective equipment, and so began the new way of life in our world.
What struck me initially was that although there had been an inkling of what was to come it still came as a complete and utter shock. It had felt so far removed, like an event you read about in a history book and not something that was literally unfolding outside my own front door. Even when other countries went into lockdown one by one, it was hard to imagine our Prime minster ever telling us what we could and could not do and where we were and were not allowed to go. As the enormity of it all sunk in, I began to feel an overwhelming sadness and came to realise that I, along with many others, were experiencing grief.
Grief is an emotion that we usually associate with the loss of life, but I feel it also accurately describes what many of us are going through as we come to terms with our new normal. Whilst tragically some of us will lose loved ones, there are other losses which we will all share. There is the loss of everyday normal life, our physical connection to others, our plans, holidays, financial security, the freedom to go where and see who we please, to buy what we want when we want - we will all grieve the loss of something.
Due to the severity of the pandemic, it may seem rather indulgent to mourn the loss of the small and seemingly insignificant things. But despite that, I believe we need to be kind and allow ourselves to grieve for what once was. Whatever the situation there will always be those who are better or worse off than ourselves. Therefore, you should allow yourself to feel sad about that cancelled holiday or the fact you can no longer meet a friend for that weekly coffee and catchup. Giving yourself permission to grieve doesn’t mean you don’t count your blessings or are not grateful for what you have, it’s all about acknowledging that it is ok to be upset and feel the way you do.
It is interesting to note that the widely accepted seven stages of grief are also the same as those of significant change. The stages are shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, testing and finally acceptance. These stages can occur in any order, and people won’t necessarily experience them all. I find comfort in knowing that what I and many others are going through is a process. It lets us know we are not alone in our thoughts and feelings and, more importantly, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
I don’t, on the whole, have a negative or pessimistic mentality, but it would be disingenuous for me to say everything will be all right and we will all get through this ok. The truth is none of us will come out of this completely unscathed, whether that be emotionally, financially or physically. It will touch all our lives, test us to our limits, show us our strengths, our weaknesses, bring out the best, as well as the worst.
The world may not be the same as it once was when this is over, but that does not mean to say that no good will come out of it. Hopefully, we will learn to value and appreciate each other more, create deeper bonds and to not take so much for granted. For some of us, it will also be an opportunity to reevaluate our lives and discover what is truly important.
When times were hard, my Grandad used to say that “it will pass”, as in nothing stays the same forever. So, no matter how hopeless or tough things might feel right now, it too will pass. And when this is all over, whenever that may be, I hope we all hold on to our loved ones that bit tighter and know how lucky we have been to come out the other side.
How are you coping with the lockdown? Who and what are you missing most? – please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.
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Also, if you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can receive advice and support from the Samaritans by calling 116 123, from any UK phone or text or call 877-870-4673 in the US.
Samaritans UK – www.samaritans.org
Samaritans USA – www.samaritanshope.org