3.3
March 31, 2020

The Trauma of Losing Everything We’ve Known & One Exceptional Blessing.

Relephant read: Elephant’s Continually updated Coronavirus Diary. ~ Waylon

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Have you ever scratched an itch on your shoulder or back and felt it twinge somewhere weird, like your elbow or foot? That’s what Covid-19 has done to many of us.

We expect to grieve when someone we love dies, but amongst this familiar human experience, the virus has caused the twinge of grief to pop up in unexpected places.

I didn’t know, before the world shut down, how much I loved the coffee place across the street with the fattest croissants ever.

I didn’t realize how much joy I got from petting other people’s dogs by the canal.

I wasn’t aware that my mind was so free, until I had to do the conscious mental labour of extended and more frequent handwashing, avoiding touching my face, and avoiding other people.

Fat croissants. Dogs. Mental space. People. I really, really miss those things.

Pandemic-induced lockdown has ignited grief in some very strange places of late. At times it has felt like a twinge, and at times it has been a tsunami. The quiet time that the world has been forced into—the quiet time that you have been forced into—may have become a time to grieve.

You may be familiar with grief. You may have said a final goodbye to a friend, a family member, or a beloved pet before. But even so, that grief may not have prepared you for this. You may have felt blindsided by the grief brought on by COVID-19.

We grieve the loss of our freedom, a birthday spent with friends, or the ability to visit with a vulnerable loved one without glass between us. We grieve for our suddenly non-existent jobs or for the pain of the world.

And just like this virus, our grief may have come on unexpectedly, overwhelmed us suddenly, and spread rapidly. It’s hard to flee from our feelings when we’re stuck indoors, and besides, an attempt to stifle grief or flee from it only packs it away to grow darker and stronger, only to be dealt with another day.

If you can, let yourself be with your grief now.

Be present with the sensations of loss and the emotions that arise.

Notice them and accept them as storms passing across the sky of your mind.

Allow sadness to well up. Allow anger to bust out. Allow depression to sit with you awhile. Allow the emptiness, irritation, confusion. Allow loss of control and uncertainty. Allow fear.

You are strong enough to weather these storms.

And notice, without judgement, what you’re grieving for.

What are these feelings about? When do they arise, and in response to what?

Notice who you miss and what you crave. Notice where the emptiness is.

Our grief carries a blessing deep within its core. It’s showing us what truly matters to us as individuals.

The old adage of, “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone” is true. People, places, and things have been removed from your life. Your tears will show you who and what you really care about.

Much of the time, when we grieve, the things we have lost are not coming back. This pandemic has created an unusual situation because most of the people, places, and things we’re currently grieving will come back. And when they do, we’ll have a unique opportunity to appreciate them more, and to reshape our lives in a way that honours the things that really matter to us.

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