Holding Both the Loss and the Gratitude
Here, I am a well-being coach and consultant, but for me, it has been hard to navigate the stress and uncertainty of living through a pandemic. Since this all began, I have not been able to feel inspired or motivated to write in a way to support others. Some days, it feels like more than enough to sleep, exercise, eat well, and do some work.
But, as we are more settled in a place of stay-at-home status quo, I have been able to get some distance and reflect more on the experience. One image that I keep thinking of is seeing both of my hands held open and holding what is in both hands at the same time.
I have been thinking about how, on one hand, we are all experiencing so much loss. Some of the loss is small, like not getting to see or hug friends, missing working out at the gym, even missing chatting with a cashier or riding the bus. And, for me especially, eating in a restaurant. Very mundane things that are gone for now- and there is grief with this.
And, we are all experiencing much larger losses as well. Some have lost loved ones or jobs to the virus. Some have lost financial security. Others have lost big plans that they were very much looking forward to. For me, I have lost a bluegrass music festival that I attend yearly and look forward to all year long as well as a special vacation that was planned to celebrate a big birthday. I recognize these are very privileged losses, but loss does not come with judgement. Loss is loss is loss.
I am also thinking about how, on the other hand, there is so much to be grateful for. There are small daily things to value- a conversation with a loved one, a good cup of coffee, being able to take a walk. There are also other things to be grateful for, such as a roof over your head, your health, food in the fridge, and even electricity and running water.
It can feel hard to hold such disparate ideas at the same time, but this is how I think we can navigate this unprecedented time. We need to both hold and acknowledge all the losses and grief that we are experiencing, while also holding onto gratitude for our many blessings. It is through moving forward in this way that I think we will be able to survive and thrive during this amazingly stressful and uncertain time.
I hope you are well and healthy during this stressful time and that you are taking care of yourself as best you can. Please let yourself feel the losses but also appreciate your many blessings daily.
5/1/2020 01:05:19 pm
I attended a Womyn's Circle shortly after my Mom died last year and the theme was Loss and Gratitude. I had really been struggling with her sudden death and couldn't speak about her without sobbing. At the same time though, I felt incredible guilt because I was relieved that she had died. My mother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's 10 year before her death and as the disease slowly took her away from us, from me, though she had "died suddenly", the truth is that she had been gone for so long. I was grieving for years but since my mom was "still there" I never allowed myself to grieve. When she died, though I missed my mom so incredibly much, I could finally grieve her loss, so oddly I was grateful that she was "finally" gone. It made me feel terrible, guilty, evil. It was during that circle that I realized that loss and gratitude are inextricably linked. We can grieve a loss and be grateful at the same. I was so sad to not have my mom anymore but so happy for my father's suffering (as the sole caregiver) to finally end. For the past year, I have realized so many instances where loss and gratitude can be held at the same time...like your imagery, both in each hand :)
5/1/2020 02:14:37 pm
I am so sorry for your loss, the gradual and sudden. Losing a loved one in that way is so painful, with many losses extended along a long period of time. That Womyn's Circle sounds really powerful and healing. I'm really glad you've been able to get to a place of holding both the gratitude and loss. It's not evil to be glad loved ones aren't suffering. I really appreciate your sharing your experience and thoughts/feelings.
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