Alone. Uncertain. Isolated. Scared. Hopeless. Anxious.
These are the words and feelings which have become all too familiar in our minds and social media feeds as Coronavirus continues to ravage our collective psyche.
They’re also the same words that you’d hear from most people who are grieving the death of someone they love. It turns out that not all grief is about death. It could be about losing a sense of order. Or losing the anticipation of joyful moments and celebrations. It could be about losing stability, money, hope, or even just the illusion of control. For those that are experiencing this kind of grief for the first time, there is something to be learned from those who’ve been there before.
People who have experienced the death of a significant person or people in their lives often describe the sensation of having their world turned upside down. They have lived through the silence that fills a home and the noise of their inner voice repeatedly asking questions that can’t be answered. They often can’t concentrate. Can’t sleep. They worry about everything all at once. Children, propelled too quickly into adulthood, share the worries of their caretakers about how bills will be paid and what would happen if someone else got sick. If someone else died. The adults worry about protecting their children. They desperately want their children to be OK. Everyone just wants to feel normal again.
Even when the loss is permanent, as it is when someone dies, many of the feelings resulting from the loss are not. Our brains are able to adapt and rediscover joy. The sharp edges begin to dull with time. We are inherently resilient.
We know from grief that there will be light in the darkness. That light includes friendship and family, healing through helping others, and gratitude. It shines brighter as you discover your new normal and practice acceptance and self-care. And even more when there is a community of people who understand, share, and listen without judgment.
There will come a day when Coronavirus is behind us and most people will return to a familiar routine. Schools and restaurants will reopen. Social gatherings will resume. The joy of living will outweigh the fear of dying. And with the right support, kindness, and care, the light will shine through the darkness, leaving a new list of words to fill our feeds.
Friendship. Understanding. Support. Gratitude. Purpose. Joy.