It struck me a few months back that I/we have not made space to grieve.
Grief wasn't invited to the pandemic.
She came in like an unannounced black out, one moment there was light and the next we are sitting in the darkness fumbling to find the flashlight we left somewhere under the sink. The speed of which we were asked to close our doors, don masks, and alter our lives completely, still takes my breath away. Somehow we normalized this new pattern of life in a matter of weeks. We are swimming so hard upstream that our heads never come up for air. Only in moments of pause am I able to look up and see the masks, feel the bizarre shift that has taken over our lives.
Grief wasn't invited to the Pandemic.
We are lone boats drifting together in the same ocean. We are miles apart. We can wave from the shores but we cannot hold one another's hands. We can see the movement but we cannot hear the voices of others. We are oarless
How do we get through this day? This hour? How do we make sure our children are still finding pockets of normalcy and joy? How do we juggle the impossible? With no clear understanding of where we are headed it is very hard to make the necessary preparations for the present.
If grief was not invited then where does it go? Grief doesn't come with a roadmap. She doesn't always announce that she has arrived. Nor does she tell you what she wants or needs.
If grief had been invited to the party she wouldn't bring the chips and dip. She would choose to linger in the corner, waiting, comfortable to be the wall flower. Her presence is felt but no one knows how to engage with her silence. She is here and will remain until noticed, seen, invited in to the warm chatter of the room. Until she is asked how she is doing.
Then the walls will fall apart. The damn will break and all that has been held in tight, all that has been squeezed into the darkest corner of the belly, all that has been asked to be forgotten, will rise.
We will drown and for a moment or two it will seem as if we will never come up for air again. But were we even breathing to begin with?
I fear the damn breaking but the fear of it never opening scares me more.
Maybe instead of one solid break we can attach a faucet that will allow for our grief to come out in small drips and drops. Allow us to cry and hold the loss and perhaps find our breath once more.
Grief wasn't invited to the Pandemic but it's not too late to ask.