Welcome back! Last week we gave you a tutorial on how to make a children’s face covering. If you missed that blog and would like to catch up, click HERE.
So we meet again…still distancing from one another. Wearing face coverings. Feeling awkward when we see each other at the post office and want to shake hands or hug and just can’t. It feels bad. It feels like a bad science fiction movie…B rated…surreal.
I was chatting online with a friend the other day, and in the midst of a conversation, she suddenly typed “I miss you“. It was out of context to what we were talking about, and it caught me off guard. I hadn’t allowed myself to go there. After all, we are chatting, aren’t we? Isn’t that “good enough“? In that snap of a picture and for that brief moment in time, I realized that no. It wasn’t enough. I missed her too.
After I left the chat, I sat there, staring at the blank screen. I and mine were not at the top of the pyramid. We weren’t even at the halfway mark. We were all consumed with the “what if’s“…what if I lose my job, what if there’s a run on the banks, what if we run out of bacon, what if this virus never goes away in our lifetimes? Two of my friends had to file for restraining orders this week. There was so much rage…such hurtful things were done that cannot be undone. Stress. Fear. Uncertainty. Grief.
Grief. That was the word I had been looking for. SO. MUCH. GRIEF. Too much loss too quickly and for some, it’s too hard to comprehend.
Loss of jobs. Loss of relationships. Loss of community. Loss of stability. Even the loss of a stranger’s smile at the grocery store, as we walk among each other with our faces covered. Loss of control. That’s a big one, right there. Loss of control. We are creatures of habit and we like to be in control of our little world. Don’t agree? Move your partners’ remote control.
Maybe now is a good time to go over the stages of grief and identify where we are at today? Good. Let’s do that.
Stage 1: SHOCK. You are stunned that this is happening. Is this for real?
Stage 2: DENIAL: Nooooooo…this can’t be for real.
Stage 3: ANGER: ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! THIS JUST GOT REAL!!
Stage 4: BARGAINING: God, if you make this plague go away, I swear I will never miss church again. Just let me go to the Cheesecake Factory. If you let me go to the Cheesecake Factory, I will stay home the rest of the time. And I will go to church. I promise.
Stage 5: DEPRESSION: I will never get out of here again. I’m doomed. I feel so sad and helpless. I have no control. This is happening to me and it feels personal.
Stage 6: TESTING: OK, now wait a minute. Am I actually ORDERED to stay home, or can I go out, using my discretion? Like, will I get a ticket or something if I get caught at the Cheesecake Factory? What? The Cheesecake Factory is CLOSED?!
Stage 7: ACCEPTANCE: OK, fine. I get it. Flatten the curve. It’s not about me. It’s not personal. I’ll stay at home. There’s no point in going out anyway if I can’t eat cheesecake. Maybe I’ll try to make my own cheesecake at home.
Now, you may see yourself in one of those stages, or you may see yourself in several of them all within the span of 24 hours. There are no rules when it comes to grief. While this blog was written with humor, some people have lost loved ones during this pandemic, and their grief isn’t funny.
It’s not funny at all.
Their loved ones were alone in the hospital, unable to have visitors. Their family stood on the outside, waiting for a good word, hoping, praying for a resolution, only to be handed a telephone and told they had to say goodbye over the phone. They told their family they loved them one last time, unsure if they were even being heard on the other end. Then the life support was disconnected and so were all their hopes and dreams for the future. Gone. No funeral. No public gathering for a celebration of their life.
As we continue to move through these bizarre days, please keep in mind that everyone is experiencing some form of grief, realized or not. Bursts of anger, or bursts of tears, overly optimistic, reclusive, or sullen, we all need each other’s grace. The best advice I can give any of my family, friends, or you, dear readers, is to get outside of yourself. Volunteer. Even if you don’t feel like it, take your body and your brain will follow.
Put a teddy bear or a heart in your windows, donate some of your stimulus check to your favorite charity, check in on your neighbors, put some chalk out on your sidewalk to encourage passing children to play again. There is so much we can be doing to help each other.
My dad used to tell me, “Look down at your plate. If it’s full, divide it in half and share the other half. You will survive on half, the other person will die with nothing“.
I encourage all of us to look at our plates this day. What can you share? Time, talent, treasure…? Can you give someone an extra minute to chat? Can you buy your neighbor a meal? Can you mow the elder hearts lawn up the street? What do you need? Those two things aren’t mutually exclusive. We can give and have needs at the same point. Do you need a shoulder to cry on? Do you need someone to help you get groceries? Let us all reach out in our grief, and help one another.
What’s on your plate today?
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