Behind promises of ‘We’re all in this together’ hide individual stories of grief and loss that no headline could capture. Subjective in nature, highly personal, unique, and beyond the guise of any COVID slogan, political position, or expression of ‘I’ve been there too’ could ever possibly rectify.
What happens in our personal sphere of events ultimately determines more for us than what happens in our public sphere. 2020’s favorite headlines have overshadowed our personal healing.
Far beyond the pandemic, the fires, the politics and the ‘new normal’, our inner critic, our individual trauma, our private grief, our personal loss, is sliding under the hot topics in mental health, glossed over by widely experienced pandemic burnout and COVID anxiety.
In grouping our individual realities into a collective facing common truths and fears, we side-step the grief that comes with personal loss, fortuned by some before or during this world-wide disarray, unrelated to global crises yet certainly amplified by it all.
Ideas, people, places, a sense of self, a way of life, that is no more regardless of how the headlines would have played out this year. This is the impact of suffering a loss, experiencing intimate grief, that can find no solace in the collectiveness of dangers that have pervaded our individual energies, stifling room to process our struggles faced in solitude.
We are all in this 6 feet apart, locked down to our distinctive inner journey. Corporations and governments must let us own and honor our personal losses rather than spin us into a whirlpool of collective issues and drowning us in platitudes. Adages rarely assuage.
Grief catches us in moments we think we are ‘fine’.
Sometimes it’s a song.
Strangers with familiar faces.
Friends and family moving on.
The weight of the world in these ‘uncertain’, ‘unprecedented’ times.
The moments we are alone and forced to check in with ourselves.
Emotions run deep and there’s no mask fit to hide us from our feelings.
Loss is an absence we cannot quantify.
To imply the future was ever certain or precedented fails to acknowledge the exceptional nature of everyday life happening to everyday people that were destined to grieve this year.
The start of a new decade, behold 2020.
A time we learn to take charge of what we’re left with and sow new seeds.
Sometimes it feels like waiting for a spring that never comes.
Trying to recreate our memories holds us back.
Learning to let go may take years.
Patience delivers when we move forward with conscious intentionality.
There will be phases of fine, happy, sad, scared, terrified until at some point it doesn’t hurt to sit with it.
The answer to our grief is gratitude.
Learning to love what is growing or what grew from our loss while acknowledging the injustice, can encourage healing.
Understanding that pain forms its scars and that all wounds heal, that this truly is the definition of living.
At a time when we are bombarded with messages and reasons to keep weighing ourselves down but ‘as a collective’, may we learn to make space for ourselves, individually, and read our lives’ own headlines. In them we will find that joy truly is flourishing, co-existing with loss and indeed with global crises.
It is time to shift the narrative of global crises to prioritize our personal healing.