Dear World, This is Grief
In the blink of an eye, it appears that the entire world is collectively experiencing something many of us know personally and profoundly.
It’s not neat, pretty, defined, or in the case of Covid-19, expected.
Grief has a life of its own, and what many people are finding out on a global scale, is something those of us well versed in the pain of grief know all too well. We know that it’s not just about death. Yes, death is a horrific part of this worldwide phenomenon, but it’s not the only part. People today are grieving all over the world, and what they have lost is cause for reflection, a new perspective, and often pain.
People are grieving the loss of their income, their freedom, their false sense of safety, and their ability to move freely throughout the globe. People are lamenting their faith in the system, their simple day to day routines, their little things we all took for granted for a lifetime.
And yes, people are grieving the precious LIFE of the people they love.
This virus has exposed more than our lack of preparation; it has exposed our lack of knowledge and empathy around grief.
Those who write and talk about grief regularly understand the emotional perplexity of loss. We realize it’s not cut and dried, and it’s rarely just about death. It’s about all the losses that come from the experience surrounding our grief journey. It’s the loss of time, conversations, shared experiences from joy and stress equally, finances, memories, hope, loneliness, a future planned that can never be. It’s complicated, and the path is never linear, and the pain is a forever part of who we are and who we become in our life’s next phase.
Tonight, billions of people around planet earth are grieving.
Yes, some are mourning the tragic loss of life from someone they honestly shouldn’t be asked to live without, and many never will get the opportunity to say goodbye. There is no question from the stories I have read and the accounts I’ve seen; this virus is a lonely way to leave this life’s existence. As a woman who never got to say goodbye to my late husband, my heart aches for each person who burdens a road of loss without a sense of closure.
Beyond death, many humans are grieving their old existence, a sense of security, and normalcy that has been lost in the blink of an eye.
Welcome to the complexity of grief.
It doesn’t just steal a life; it takes many lives in its wake. Loss on this scale isn’t only real in a global pandemic, but rather it’s footprint is part of every grief story to have ever been told.
The complexity of loss is something I’m afraid the entire world is about to get a master-class in, like it or not. The next time you wonder why the widow is still crying or the mother is again saying her child’s name; perhaps, you will remember the lasting horrific inconvenience death has on every aspect of one’s self. It touches every corner, every crevice, every nuance of our existence, and in its wake, we rebuild, we stand firm, fall, repeat again and again for a lifetime.
We also evolve.
We see the true beauty in life’s simple moments.
We cherish the little things we love more deeply, and we see more clearly. Grief, in whatever form it comes to you, is a transformational experience. It strips away the petty, and it reveals the beauty that remains. I call it gifts from grief, and these gifts are earned the hardest of ways, and they come at a steep price. Within them, you will see your character, your strength, your real priorities, and your wisdom. They may not feel like gifts at first, but rather a burden you are being asked to carry. That is normal and part of the grief process. I don’t expect you to appreciate them straight-away, but in time they will reveal the best parts of you and shift you as you grow forward. Loss has the unique ability to clarify your version, your strength, and your love for all that remains.
Right now, the world grieves, and I feel it not only in my own life but in the lives of those around me.
I’m not asking you to be okay with your pain.
I’m not telling you it’s acceptable or forgivable.
What I am saying is that we are all in this together, we are all grieving. I can only speak as a woman who has lived beyond something I didn’t think it was possible to survive…we will all rise after the fall.
When the dust settles on all we have lost, may we also see all that we have gained in the process of a combined clarity.
A need for a little less
Helping a neighbor
May we walk away from this turbulent time with a united understanding that grief is a journey we must all take in our unique way and in our own time.
I wish you hope, peace, and love as you navigate a new world, one where more humans understand a form of grief at once than perhaps ever before in human history.
What could we collectively do with such empathy and knowledge?
I hope I get to see the best of what this challenge evolves us to be as a species.
I’m guessing it will be pretty special.
Michelle is the founder of the popular blog, One Fit Widow, and best selling author of Healthy Healing.