For those who know these feelings all too well…
We are here together because we have a connection. We have lived through the death of someone close in our life. We have already had the trajectory of our lives changed, the north star moved, and experienced the unsettling reshuffling of life. We know what it feels like to be out of control, to not know what comes next, and to experience emotions we didn’t know possible. We already have that file folder in our brain marked ‘death’ and it has one if not more pages in it from our past.
Today, as we watch a global pandemic spread across our world, country, and towns, that folder can’t help but open, anticipating the next page to be added. Those familiar feelings of helplessness, fear, anger may be creeping back in. We may be reflecting on our own experience, fearful that we will suffer another loss, and wondering how we will be able to find our way through another tragedy. We may find ourselves feeling overwhelming empathy for others, as we remember the moments of goodbye, the sense of shock, or the devastation of not being present. We may see the first responders and remember those who cared for us. We may be feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of all of it.
While I can’t give you a neat list of ways to not feel these things, I can remind you of how you survived the first time, and offer the support of our community so you don’t feel quite so alone. If you are reading this and connect with it, take a moment. Take a moment to give yourself permission to have these feelings, to feel overwhelmed, sad, angry, whatever it is that is coming out of that folder for you. Cry for yourself, for the others who are feeling what you are feeling, for those who are dying, for the loved ones who can’t get to them, and for the medical teams trying to help.
Let. It. Out.
And then remember how you got through before. The support of friends? Family? Exercise? Music? Journaling? Art? Crying, crying and more crying? Helping others? Time? What, if anything, helped you feel a bit more in control? What, if anything, brought some element of comfort?
Now is the time to recognize what you are feeling and why. It’s the time to seek out the comforts that supported you and to lean on the community you have built. You are not alone. And the feelings you are experiencing are shared by many. We are in this together.