There is this old poem that brought me a lot of comfort when I was grieving after my 1st husband died in 1995. It speaks of losing things and falling apart.
Here is the poem:
I seem to be falling apart.
My attention span can be measured in seconds,
My patience in minutes.
I cry at the drop of a hat.
I forget things constantly.
The morning toast burns daily.
I forget to sign the checks.
Half of everything in the house is misplaced.
Anxiety and restlessness are my constant companion.
Rainy days seem extra dreary.
Sunny days seem an outrage.
Other people’s pain and frustration seem insignificant.
Laughing, happy people seem out of place in my world.
It has become routine for me to feel half crazy.
I am normal, I am told.
I am grieving.
In these days, of pandemic, I’m recognizing some of the same responses in me. I’m restless. I easily feel stressed. The strange thing is that when I walk down my street, I know everyone else, isolated in their houses is also facing the same crisis.
Grief can paralyze us. Grief is consuming and uses much of our energy.
We might respond differently, but there is a collective grief, and longing for life as we knew it, only a short time ago.
I believe we are grieving the life we knew. So much of our lives seem to be impacted.
We are not used to restrictions, and isolation, and fear for our loved ones, and many of us are struggling with disappointments. Cancelled plans, And an uncertain future. We grieve those things.
I worked with grieving people for many years, and I’m recognizing the symptoms I talk about in myself. Crying easily, feeling overwhelmed, wanting to escape my thoughts because the nightmare never seems to go away. As I validate these feelings, even write them down, I am very aware that there are so many with more complicated stories, with less support. My heart is sad for them and I, like many others, feel helpless to help or relieve their pain.
There are those who are actively grieving their loved one, feeling very alone and bereft. There are others who are caring for elderly parents or others who are ill or compromised. Their loads are heavy indeed. There are those fighting illness or have chronic conditions, leaving them immune-compromised.
We all do respond differently, we grieve differently, but we grieve. There are those in denial, there are those who are angry and lashing out, there are those who are feeling helpless and panicked, there are those who are very isolated and there are those taking charge, and there are the helpers.
There’s been some good conversation about mental health, and I believe we need to find ways to talk about what we’re going through. Just like a support group, we need to listen, to respect, to show kindness, to allow vulnerability, all without guilt or shame. These are challenging days indeed.
I think of the children, who feel the stress of the adults. They cannot escape it. Finding ways to normalize life for them, and explain this new way of living, for now, is so important. I’m grateful for all the on-line resources that have popped up in the last few days offering support and ways for kids to keep active.
In this new reality, even as we grieve the old way of life, I’m learning there are precious things to learn. That we are a global community. That we can be there for one another. We look to faith and prayer and hope to give us courage for the coming days. We applaud the helpers and cheer them on. We look for creative ways to live and share and connect.
For me, it is using words. Or creating art. Praying. How is it for you? Sending a virtual hug to all reading this today.