By Kristen Harris
This morning I woke up sad. My heart was so heavy. I listened to my daily news podcasts, then I was even sadder. I took a shower and almost started crying. I didn’t know why—I mean, I know why…but why now, why me, when nothing specific has happened. I had this dark cloud over me that I couldn’t shake.
I headed out for a morning walk with the dogs with a lump in my throat and nearly in tears, still not sure why. Then I started listening to a podcast (shoutout to Brené Brown’s Unlocking Us), and it all became clear.
That weird feeling I was having? It’s grief. Nothing specifically terrible has happened to me. All the people I know and love are currently safe and healthy. I’m able to work from home and keep our business running. I have a freezer full of food, family support, access to resources, and an Amazon account. By all measures, I am doing just fine.
But I’m not, and this fantastic podcast explained why. I was experiencing grief for things that I didn’t even realize. I learned that, right now, there is a tremendous amount of grief in the world, and it’s okay to feel that way. Grief is an individual experience, and it’s all valid.
While grieving for lost jobs or lost loved ones might seem significant and “worth it,” this is not a comparison game. We all experience legitimate grief for our own situation. Lives have been turned upside down, and we’re all trying to adjust the best we can. We’re grieving for losses like a sense of normalcy, security, predictable schedules, future plans, personal connections. I miss the life I had before a global pandemic forever cemented the phrase “social distancing” into my brain, and you probably do too.
As David Kessler shares on this podcast episode, there are generally five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. We typically go through all five, but not necessarily in order or one-by-one. And, as we come out on the other side, we are also able to find a sixth stage: meaning.
So, I’m challenging myself, and challenge you too…how can we experience and accept our grief, and maybe even find meaning from this situation? Although I am exceptionally positive, I’m not looking for a “bright side” in this whole situation. But I am allowing myself to experience the stages of grief, to feel all the feelings, to think about the impact this crisis is having on so many people, and to accept that I’m going to be sad sometimes. It’s human, and we’re all in this together.