One year after quarantine began, I have achieved the unimaginable: the immunization protection from this deadly disease. Going out into the public, still masked, with my immunization card in hand, brought out the following dichotomies and then some:
- I feel safer from, yet less trusting of anyone without a mask.
- I feel happy that life is finally starting to get back to normal, but sad that we lost an entire year.
- I am tired of being sedentary but find it hard to muster the energy to re-activate.
- Be disgusted by the continued divide of politics vs. rights.
- Measuring my faith vs. my feelings of doubt.
- My conflicted feelings of action and inaction.
- Accepting the mystery of all vs. the needs to problem solve and provide answers in the moment.
I read an article in the Times about disenfranchised grief, the kind we feel everyday: that if we did not die or lose a loved one, we have no legitimate complaints. This is a ridiculous unrealistic notion. Everyone of us has reason to grieve. Each has suffered hardships and losses and all are valid.
Here are some suggestions to help acknowledge and validate the grief: seek support from others with shared experiences; create a ritual to bring forward the deeper meanings of the experience; reaching out to help others that have greater needs and losses; and work to discover and acknowledge the small moments of joy that came through the grief.
Getting ready for Passover this year, I will add an empty chair to our seder table- representing both the unforgivable magnitude of lives lost and unforgettable feelings of individual grief.