Grief & Hope in the Midst of COVID-19Apr 02, 2020
I want to talk about the collective grief we are currently experiencing on a global level as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and its resulting impact in our lives. In psychology there's a concept known as Ambiguous Loss. If a loved one in your life dies, it is commonly understood that you will need to grieve. However, there are many situations in life that aren’t as clear cut as a death, but still necessitates a grieving process— such as the loss of an important relationship or the loss of a dream of what you hoped could be. These are ambiguous losses.
To varying degrees and stages, we are all going through immense loss right now due to COVID-19, whether it be the loss of loved ones, income, a sense of normalcy & predictability, the loss of routines, or social interactions— basically, the loss of life as we have known it to this point.
The stages of grief are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, & acceptance. They do not necessarily occur in consecutive order, but, in general, include denying the reality of something we don’t want to be true, becoming angry when we can no longer ignore it, then grasping for any possibility of things returning back to “normal”, feeling saddened when that fails, until ultimately we have no choice but to accept our new reality.
The important thing to understand about grief is that it is not a linear process. It comes in waves and there is no way to “fix it”. You just have feel each waves as it passes and keep working through it one step at a time.
What I think is helpful to keep in mind during this time is that life is full of cycles of death and renewal. After winter always comes spring. Our intellect is great at making sense of what we’ve already experienced, but gets in the way of what we have yet to encounter. Sometimes we have to let go of the good of a previous season in order to to make room for the new possibilities attempting to spring forth in our life.
So let yourself grieve what needs to be grieved. And take your time with it. But just know that, on the other side, there will be new signs of life— new possibilities & opportunities unfolding that you couldn’t have previously fathomed.
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