Dealing with loss (of all kinds) right now
I used to think of grief only in terms of the loss of a loved one after they pass away. Certainly, that is a huge part of grief. In fact, I’m not certain I have ever fully grieved the loss of my mother-in-law or my grandparents. I guess I was never really taught how… the losses I experienced in life prior to their deaths were created by people who are, in fact, still living.
Are we allowed or supposed to even grieve the loss of friendships? Lovers? Pets? Jobs? Is it the same?
Sure, I know all the buzzwords. I’ve even said them myself. People grieve in their own ways… Offer support to those who are grieving, or don’t put too much pressure on yourself if you are the one who needs support. We can't help how we feel about things. It really is how we DEAL with loss and change. What I realized this week is that I deal by avoiding, running, denying, or worse.
The most popular way I deal with loss is to shut myself down altogether. I go into a bubble. I shut off my heart. I disconnect.
So, why is this coming up right now? There are many things...the world is crazy. Schools are closed, and I didn’t get to say goodbye to my students. I miss my friends. I miss my mom. We’re distancing ourselves from one another to help one another (the irony!). We are forced to live moment by moment- with no actual plan in place. (Do you KNOW why I try to control everything? It's so my anxiety monster does not get fed). The list goes on and on. So, if my normal way to deal with grief is to disconnect, then this FORCED isolation is sending me to a place I do not like at all.
Before I go any further, I realize my circumstances are similar to many. I also realize that I am blessed to have a wonderful group of colleagues and a beautiful family. (So far, we’re all healthy and not sick of each other yet).
But, I am, in fact, grieving. I am lost and lonely. One of my best qualities is my ability to form relationships with people. But, they’re all changed. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to grieve. I feel like if I open up, I will never be myself again. I’m usually so strong. I am usually the rock for people around me, but I’m crumbling… and I worry an avalanche is about to bury me.
I am mourning the change in my family. I made the choice to take a time out from my marriage in order to become a whole person. Now, we’re struggling with more change… I feel guilty that my kids are bouncing back and forth between houses. I worry about what will happen if one of us gets sick. I still believe I made the best choice, but I hate the hurt I’ve caused in the process.
I am grieving the change in my job. I teach around 100 students. 100 children (teenagers actually) I should see 5 days a week. I love every single one of them, and I was NOT READY to say goodbye. I have no idea if I’ll see them again this school year. I’m a CLASSROOM teacher, and I have no face-to-face contact with my students right now. The desks are all empty. Once again, our time together was not supposed to be over. I realize I am still responsible for teaching them the curriculum, but it is heartbreaking to not know if I will even be able to reach all of them. Are they eating? Are they resting? Are they healthy? I miss them.
My friendships are different. We’ve all got to worry and care for what is going on in front of us. Carving out time was challenging enough 2 months ago. The COVID-19 era of relationships REALLY limits us. I am grieving the loss of seeing my friends in person.
We need one another more than ever (translation: I need people more than ever), but I can’t have them. I need to grieve more than ever, but I don’t know how.
Most of my posts have some sort of positive resolve… I’m just not there today. But, you know what, there is always tomorrow. Peace and Light.