A thought during this global pandemic.
One thing I say that tends to resonate with those who have not experienced the death of their child, but gets me a bit of backlash from those who have, is that in my opinion, at some very base level, grief is grief. (Enough commas in there for you?)
And feeling grief is okay. You shouldn't have to ignore it. You shouldn't have to hide it from others. You shouldn't have to justify it.
Grief has different paths, different sources, and obviously different levels. I had just turned 40 when Sawyer died. They weren't 40 griefless years. I grieved other things before our ten year old Sawyer died. Of course I did. Looking back were some of those things trivial? Now they are. Maybe. But in those times and in those moments they felt anywhere from disappointing to earth shattering, at that time. But they were all important. Those grieving moments were important. They prepared me for my Big Grief. Never have I, nor will I, grieve the same about anything, the way I grieve for Sawyer, for me, for my family because Sawyer is gone. But there has a be a tiny atom or spec or seed or some component of our individual grief that starts in the same place for all of us. How it sprouts and what it grows into is entirely different. I get that. But in times like these, maybe we focus on the little seed of similarity. Stay with me.
Part of the purpose I started the "heartbroken but not broken" movement is to blow up the conversation about grief i our culture. I feel strongly that as a culture, we are not comfortable talking about grief, nevermind actually allowing ourselves and others to experience the fullness of grief. (I could write 278 pages of what I think about that, but instead I'll keep it to this long "thought.") We are all grieving so many things right now and I think part of our malaise and anxiety and discomfort with it is because we do not understand the importance of grief and allowing ourselves to feel it. To acknowledge it. To give it space. To not be ashamed about it. I have hope that this time in our lives will make us realize we need to learn more about grief and how to cope with it.
We are grieving so many things right now. Death. The deaths. So many deaths. Also, human touch, personal freedom to come and go as we please, lunch dates, school mates, celebrations reimagined, mourning rituals abandoned, rights of passage modified or ignored. It's a lot to absorb. For everyone. Some days we can barely muster the strength to get through the day ourselves, nevermind look around for others who might be struggling. Put your own mask on first (literally-do it) and then make sure others have a mask (literally-give out all the masks you can make). Once our literal masks are taken care of, may we find simple ways to reach out to others, to allow them to acknowledge and feel all the feels, to walk (six feet apart of course) with those around us who are struggling without judgement and with overwhelming compassion. To do that, we need to find out who is struggling. Check in on those you know, those you love, those you don't know but feel you should know. Touch base. There are many out there feeling heartbroken. It is our job in humanity right now to remind them that they are not broken. They are heartbroken. But. Not. Broken.