“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.”
― Elizabeth Edwards
My mom died last year. During a global pandemic. As a therapist, grief and loss are topics that are regularly parts of my daily conversations, but this, the past 10 months, it is different. This enormous loss in my personal life has started me thinking about grief in terms of all of the little losses that we have all experienced. And I do not mean death, though there has been lots of that. Those little moments we do not normally think about, those daily tasks that often feel mundane. Going to school. Going to work. Seeing our family. Weddings. Graduations. Funerals. Birthday parties. Shopping. Meeting friends for dinner. Going to the gym. Going to a movie theatre. Holiday celebrations.
These are all losses. We have been grieving every day since this began. Last year this time if you would have told me that my niece and nephew would be going to school online from home or that I would be seeing many of my clients over the computer or that I would have to go 6 months without seeing my mom at her nursing home or that we would all be wearing masks in public, I would have said you were nuts.
As someone whose career is as a helper, this has me thinking, how do we help others if we are in the thick of it too? We all have so many roles in our lives—-parent, spouse, grandparent, caregiver, employee, employer, student, friend, colleague, the list goes on and on—how do we meet the needs of all of these roles we each have when we are all grieving? As a therapist, I know that my clients are looking to me for some solutions to these questions and part of what I have learned this year is that we do not always need to know the answers.
We have all been doing the best we can. And that is enough. We are all grieving right now. Give yourself space to grieve. Allow yourself to feel the loss that we have all been experiencing during 2020. Give yourself permission to be present in whatever emotions you are having—none of this is normal—none of us know how this is going to resolve.
But there is hope. Even in all of this grief, there is good. For me, it means I have been blessed with being able to spend much more time at home with my son, who will only be a toddler once and that I have been able to enter into my client’s lives in ways that I previously hadn’t.
We have all grown in this situation. We have taken on new roles (many of which we did not want or choose—I am looking at you parents who are navigating remote learning) and we have learned just how resilient we are. We have allowed ourselves to be uncomfortable (like doing therapy over a computer) and we have adapted.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with grief, anxiety, depression, or any other mental health condition, please reach out. Family Counseling Service offers a range of services that caters to all ages, from children, to adolescents through to adults and older adults. Our appointments are in office or telehealth. Hope starts here. We are here to listen.