Endings are as inevitable as beginnings. Change is the only constant. Death is a transition. Energy does not vanish.
These times are bringing up a lot of grief for people. The way of life we have known is no more. People are still coming to terms with that. A vaccine may only be 50% effective, and people may have to get more than one dose. How we work, learn, gather, and enjoy entertainment is transforming. Once it is safe to gather in larger groups, the old opportunities will be gone.
It is right and good to mourn what has left. It is also right and good to plan for the future, to begin to imagine solutions and new ways of being. We can even do these two things simultaneously. If we don’t allow ourselves to honor what has left our lives, we imagine it is still there, and we cannot move forward; a residue remains and gets in the way of our vision.
Grief is a natural reaction to endings. We grieve the end of chapters in our lives as well as the end of volumes. Our society is not particularly good at supporting that, so people can get stuck in that space. Every ending is different, so each instance of grief is different. Placing expectations (how long it’s going to last, what it’s going to feel like, the pattern and flavor of it) on grief can get us stuck too.
The way to support grief in others is to hold space. Love them, approach them without judgment, let them feel supported. The way to support grief in yourself is to simply allow for the process and to stay out of self-judgment. Sense a theme?
So acknowledge the collective grief as well as your own. Mourn what you need to mourn. Find your place of acceptance with it. And look to the future. How would you like to see our new reality evolve? What would you have your new world be? What could the new priorities be, the new values, the new way of relating to the community, small and large?
By engaging in that dialogue, in groups large and small, we begin to take our power back, to become empowered actors in our lives. Haven’t we been stuck long enough? Haven’t we earned the right to co-create our future?