Often people don’t know they are grieving. They just know they don’t feel like they did 2 weeks ago, that things are misaligned and unsettled. Because we have been taught to dismiss our feelings and not acknowledge them, these suppressed feelings can surprisingly arise when least expected. We might be driving to work and suddenly find tears streaming down our cheeks. We have been taught to ignore these outward expressions of sadness and guess what? It’s not good for us.
We have also been taught to “get over it”, “snap out of it”, “don’t be a sissy” as if these feelings were unnatural. These teachings couldn’t be farther from the truth. Grief and sadness are as natural as happiness. It’s the ying to the yang, the opposite side of the coin. So, how do we honor these feelings? What do we do with them? Does it mean we are weak?
In all of my training I have learned that our outdated ways of shaming and pushing our feelings aside have done us a great disservice. Experts concur that there is no way to get around grief, there is only…through. It’s emotional connection and work - it takes time. These old accepted ways of dealing with our grief need to go. Especially now, in the time of great distress from being quarantined and separated from our friends and loved ones. We need a place a cry, to acknowledge that many of us have lost our jobs, that not being able to visit grandpa at his assisted living community sucks, not being able to hang out with our friends on Friday after work really blows. This is not to mention all the other losses that compound our grief, anxiety and depression. If you have lost a friend or family from Covid-19 most are not able to have a proper goodbye. Virtual goodbyes are better than none, but not having that final closure of a memorial service or funeral can have long lasting effects.
So, what to do with grief? Acknowledge it, be with it, and reach out to someone you trust, someone that will allow you to be just be who you are in that moment, that day, week, month or year. When our children hurt, we comfort them with a hug or, kiss the scraped knee. We wrap our arms around the bereaved and offer an open empathetic heart to those in need. Being heard, recognized, accepted is imperative to our own healing so that, we too can reach out to others that are hurting. We need each other right now and, if nothing else good comes of this unprecedented time then surely, we can learn how much we really care for each other.