Today I am brave enough to say this and share it, so here goes.
Many of us, and I can say with certainty that my own family and I have experienced some rougher, tougher times the past five years or so. You may even call them extreme. A real test. Will I keep my balance and sustain my loving center? These years have not been anything I could have imagined for my family or especially at this phase of my life. We’ve suffered losses, especially the loss of many good, loving people, including both of my parents. My partner, Michael grieves the loss of many friends, too many and too soon.
When you lose your health or when people you love die you don’t really know how to be with it, to prepare for it or to process all of it. You need time. It takes time. When a sudden loss arrives, it may initially overwhelm you. The sorrow can cover you, totally cover you up. You may not recognize yourself. There can be waves of anxiety and fear. The fear is rarely talked about in association with the loss and grief. Some experience fatigue like no other time in life, much of which is due to sleeplessness, which can stretch out and distort your ability to process your own emotions or take the steps you need for good self-care. It’s cyclical. You need what is most difficult to give yourself. This is more difficult because it is also common to lose focus on the practical aspects of daily life for what you need to maintain healthy structures and decision-making.
The intermittent tempo of a day with fewer “ups” and more extreme “downs” can be exhausting and worrisome, like a bad road trip at night in a rainstorm. And then there’s the constant sense of uncertainty lurking in the corners of your mind. You bombard yourself with questions: Who else? What else is coming? How should I prepare? These leave their mark by gifting you with a heightened awareness, keen to expand your protective planning functionality. All of which puts your mindset in “high alert mode” and increases your sense of vulnerability.
Grief creates a haunting if you will, the experience of “doom” may follow your thoughts for months and even years later. You know that you want to heal, never to experience anything like this again. You tell yourself you will fight it. With time you will have more days when you are able to find yourself understanding that all of this is the natural course of life. The process of what it means to be human and to love others.
Now as I experience this pandemic, I see more clearly the experience of loss and change is what occurs when you love big. I see just how much I do love people. How intense this can be. It’s real and genuine, how much I care, and you know I’m glad I do, and I’m willing to continue — I will allow love to rip — as we move through the days ahead. I will share my love even more.
Love may rip me apart when the loss comes, yet I know wholeheartedly it is worth it. The loving is absolutely worth it. It’s worth the worry and anxiety, the sadness and deep sorrow, the disappointments and frustrations, and the wild imaginings and savage anger. Grief is worth it because to grieve means we love.
We are fortunate to know grief as we have known love.
Yet I want to heed a warning as grief can isolate a soul, it does it well. As we march ahead into the unknown of this pandemic I pray that we will not leave one another to the loneliness. Some isolation is needed to process and reflect, yet too much is damaging. I pray when the grief comes we will find our balance and look away from our screens and see beyond our habitats to look up and around. May we reach out and be with one another and share our love. May others be there for you and you for them in the days and months ahead.
As we face the uncertainty now and ahead, and any losses that may visit you, be it health, income or dare I say friends and loved ones — may you find it possible to love yourself and let go of the suffering — and never feel alone in the process. As Mary Oliver so beautifully expressed within a passage of one of her poems, “”Blackwater Woods”: “to live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go”
Be well and stay safe everyone. Share the love together.
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Contact Beth Wellesley at 612.824.0454 (o) or 612.325.5104 (m). Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the CONNECTING menu.