I count my hairdresser as a friend. We’ve been together many years now. Through the snip snip of making me look good we talk about ‘things’. I know about her family, she knows about mine. Current affairs can be a hot topic in whispered conversation so as not to upset people in the next booth. On my last visit we talked about how difficult it is to balance issues of loss and the sense of sunny optimism.
Most people don’t wear masks anymore. Crowds are gathering for parades and parties, concerts and rallys with what might have been reckless abandon just last summer. Much of the world is vaccinated and countless people are getting and surviving Covid. Still it provokes anxiety.
The general thought seems to be: let go, let it all be as it will be. And to a certain extent that is true. As human beings its important to maintain some sense of hope, of celebration, of accomplishment, that we have made it, we have survived. Yet we are still overshadowed by the loss of so much.
My brother died of Covid late last year. While I have helped to usher other loved ones into the next realm, my brother’s death has been particularly difficult. I loved him, even though we lived apart for most of our adult lives. And yet, the grief goes deeper these days.
Individual grief, the grief of a society, it all takes time. I offer several suggestions to process your grief, your sense of loss, be it on an individual level or societal.
- Remember to take care of yourself. To do so, it takes a bit of thinking as to what that might look like. Does it involve walking in nature? Soaking in a warm bath? Surrounding yourself with people who love you, or retreating into a place of quiet to sort through your thoughts? Whatever best defines “taking care of yourself” do that. Eat healthy foods, exercise and get plenty of sleep.
- Accept your feelings. Going through a normal day, a thought or emotion might tug at your heart. It’s okay to feel that, feel the sense of missing someone else.
- Find support. Make sure to find people who will listen to you about your loved one. It’s in the remembering that we can journey through the loss. If you feel stuck or overwhelmed by these emotions, it may be helpful to talk with a licensed mental health professional who can help you cope with your feelings and find a way to get back on track.
- Through Hospice, your local church, or social service agencies, there may be support groups for bereavement. Check into this possibility, especially if you are feeling a sense of isolation.
Spring is a time of hope, new life, new starts. In the midst of celebrations remember to turn you thoughts to the good times with the person you’ve lost. Celebrate them, celebrate being alive. Treat yourself and others with kindness.
Tina Neyer is a writer, coach, educator, and faculty member for the Conscious Living Center.