At the end of my “Food for Thought” in May, I invited you to stay connected to yourself and others during this pandemic time. I was thinking about how it’s important we give ourselves permission to, “Take good care of yourself. And others.” To find new meaning in sharing losses and being a witness to someone else’s pain. I believe this compassion, this “choosing ourselves and others,” helps us face the pain of our losses and we can then grow stronger together. That was an important word last month – together.
And together in hope is important for June and beyond. It does seem everyone seems is talking about grief right now. Aren’t we all trying to make sense of what is happening? Sometimes I can find comfort in what is being said, sometimes the conversations are upsetting. I am encouraged because it seems people are talking about loss, talking about their feelings, that their feelings are having feelings, and acknowledging all this hurts. This sharing is healthy. I get concerned, however, about the underlying message I hear that this pandemic is only a phase, that the feeling of loss will get better quickly and go away easily once there is a cure. But this thought isn’t kind or true. To quote from the blog, What’s Your Grief?, “The reality is that this crisis is many things, impacting many areas of life and creating many losses.” This, to me, speaks to our unique, individual grief experiences and reminds me that we each cope with loss in different ways. “It’s a lot and it’s normal,” says What’s Your Grief?
There is much to read in the WYG blog entitled, “7 Types of Grief and Loss to Know Right Now.” Together we may be experiencing #1: Non-Death Loss. We can “grieve the loss of anything significant. Some may be minor, some are devastating and life-altering. And, like after a death, grievers often view their lives in terms of “before” and “after” the loss.” It seems the whole world may now better understand that our normalcy has been ripped away. For me, I grieve the death of a friend in Arizona. I think of not being able to meet with my Grieving with Hope participants through at least August. I feel the loss of not being able to hold my grandchild born in March and not being able to sit across the table from the older one playing UNO. I long to go to church. Please take a moment to ponder about what you are missing and grieving now. Then let’s look together at another idea.
Deepak Chopra, a mindfulness expert says, “The first coping mechanism to deal with feelings of grief is to bring them into your awareness, and feel it within yourself first,” and then “find a way to express our love to somebody else right now.” So in the paragraph above I wrote to you a few things I am missing. Here is how I am trying to help myself by expressing my love: by sending a quarterly grief booklet to the spouse in Arizona, by writing encouraging notes to my grief group, by Face-Timing with my grandkids, (did you know you can play UNO over the computer! My, how we laugh together!), by attending on-line church meetings and praying over Zoom with friends. This is “together” in a new way. What can you do, perhaps in an unexpected, new way, to be kind to yourself – and be together with others in helpful, compassionate ways? We at Conley Outreach are together with you always. Together brings hope.