Global Grief

My heart goes out to all the families who have lost loved ones because of the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic. The constant news keeps informing us of the latest statistics and how many more people have died in each country. It is easy to forget that behind every death there is a personal story. A parent, a child, a friend. Each a tragedy for their loved ones.  It is easy to read the statistics and forget the human element when listening to the news. Alongside the mortality rate there is fear. The fear we may lose a loved one.

Because of lockdown, we have lost our freedom, our physical contacts and the lives we had. This new way of being and the uncertainty, anxiety and panic feels uncomfortable. It’s not normal and it’s pushed us all globally completely out of our comfort zones. It has forced us to think differently, to work differently or not work at all and so much is out of our control. Even a simple trip to the supermarket or a walk in the park is scary as we are told that our actions could make a difference between life or death. 

It is interesting that so many people have commented that they are experiencing a type of grief because their lives have changed so much. It is perfectly normal to feel a type of bereavement because of these life changes and it is important that we accept and process this. Afterall it is a loss. We have (temporarily) lost the life we had – but we have not lost our life. We do have a future. Over time, as we learn to adapt to this new situation, we will start to feel better.

We cannot control what goes on in our external world, but we can control how we choose to react. We can choose to adapt to our new situation and allow it to bring out the best in us and notice that there are things to be thankful for.

Currently over 98% of people recover from this virus. Hopefully there will be enough ventilators, and everyone will get the care they need. Hopefully a lot of positives will come out of this too.

A few nights ago, I stood on my front doorstep and joined the rest of the country in clapping and cheering our amazing health workers. The wave of love and gratitude could be heard for miles around and it gave me hope for humanity. It reinforced that we are all in this together and we do all care.  Perhaps this situation is uniting us and teaching us a new way of being.

Although we can’t visit family and friends, we can still connect with them, either via our various social media networks, emails, Facetime, Zoom and the good old-fashioned telephone (thank goodness for technology). Rather than ‘social distancing’ maybe we should think of it as ‘physical distancing’. We can still connect – and after all, we might have more time to do it.

Have you complained about not having enough time in the past? I know I have. We all have the same amount of time, but I have sometimes felt there wasn’t enough for me. Well, I have plenty of time now and I am going to take this opportunity to reflect more, meditate more and be more mindful. I have no more excuses. This is an opportunity to go within and think more deeply. I embrace this solitude.

Maybe we have more to be thankful for than we realise. There are fewer planes in the sky, less pollution (apparently, the water in the Venice canals are clear and they can see fish), in the cities people can hear the birds singing. The earth is healing.

There is a positive in every situation if you look in the right direction.

While we connect to the experience of grief about the lives we had, we can appreciate it won’t always be like this. We are lucky enough to have a future. We are like a chrysalis transforming and time changes everything. We will get through this together and the world will hopefully be a better place.

We may have lost our freedom, our physical contacts and the lives we had but we will get these things back!

I wonder what Matthew would have made of all this. It has certainly added another layer to my grief – another life event we can’t share together. I am learning to live my life without my son but times like these certainly heighten my emotions.

“Life is about to make an impact, not an income.” Kevin Kruse