When one thinks of grief or even loss, one envisions that the person has lost a loved one such as family member or friend or even a pet. Some might even relate to the loss of physical possessions or employment and sometimes even relationships. However loss and therefore grief comes to us in a myriad of ways, often in plain sight and often in disguise.
In the current state of our country and worldwide, tackling the pandemic of 2020 due to Covid-19, we are all coming to realize that life as we know it has changed. We are no longer able to live our daily lives the we were up to a few weeks ago. With that realization for many comes a profound sense of loss that they may have not been able to articulate for themselves yet. However the sense of grief is very real and legitimate. We are losing a lot of different things as we are self-isolating, social distancing or following government mandated directives. Many of us are missing out on educational opportunities, jobs/income and seeing friends and family. In addition to all this, we are facing an unknown future filled with uncertainty and anxiety for many.
All these different losses and compounding anxieties culminates in a new sort of grief that none of us are quite equipped to deal with. Grief of any kind is experienced in different phases or stages as described by renowned psychologists, David Kessler and Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. According to them, people will experience denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. A new 6th stage further identified by Kessler is finding meaning. As we navigate life in these uncertain times, we are bound to feel some, if not all of the phases of grief.
Often hours spent alone will trigger people on losses they have already faced in the past. For others, this might be a new encounter with grief that they have never experienced before. One thing that we all need to keep in mind, that no matter what we are feeling, it’s okay to acknowledge these feelings. We need to be compassionate with ourselves which in turn will help us navigate the feelings of those around us.
For those of us who might be feeling overwhelmed by it all, we can reach out to others and share our concerns. By forging a community despite the separation, we can get through this together. In addition, there are several resources available online to help you manage your grief and anxiety. In the end, despite the isolating nature of our current days, you are not alone in this.
The author is an educator and a monthly grief-share moderator.