I’ve been thinking a great deal about loss. This past year there has been so much loss in the world and in my own life. The loss of:
- Human lives – literally, so many lives have been lost globally
- Visiting loved ones – meeting family & friends in-person
- Places of work – the spaces where/when/how we compartmentalize our jobs
- Gathering of people – the art of gathering has vanished & often prohibited
- Defined personal/professional roles – these do not look, feel, or behave the same way
- A Sense of Self – Who am I? How to regulate & deal with life changes/challenges
Grief is our internal experience to loss – sadness, anger, confusion, bitterness, the sometimes desperate longing for what was or what had been. These feelings, emotions, and thoughts are all a part of our grief response. They are all possible, appropriate, and valid human reactions. ~ “Good Grief Charlie Brown!” Posted by Iris Song, Psy.D., Licensed Psychologist, UWCC
There is hope on the horizon with vaccine distribution and head towards heard immunity; however, much has been changed from the lives we once knew. Before we move forward, I wanted to talk about this challenge time we’ve all experienced collective loss, in one way or another. In reading Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief by David Kessler, and a recent conversation with Patrice on an #InVinoFab podcast episode, talked more about grief and reflected on what this has meant this past year.
Kessler shares how he and others have dealt with the 6th stage of grief – meaning – via his own experience of loss, lessons from others as a grief professional, and through powerful tools and practices. He mentioned Richard Tedeschi’s Growth After Trauma, where negative experiences can bring personal strength and new possibilities after including:
- Your relationships grow stronger
- You discover new purposes in life
- From the trauma you find strength
- Spirituality is deepened
- Renewed appreciation on life
There has been so much more than the pandemic that requires our grief — racial/social unrest, mass shootings, and mental health, to name a few. Unlike mourning, that often takes a public form (e.g. a post, image, blog, video, etc), grief is an internal processing of all the feelings. How, when, how long, and why you grieve is personal. There is no set time, pathway, or process to work through any grief you might be feeling. And it IS okay not to be OK, as you grieve even the small loses from this past year. It’s okay to feel ALL THE FEELS — in whatever way you want to so you can find meaning for you. Be sure to hold space for yourself and those around you for grief.