Grief Brief #23
I thought it most appropriate at this time to address the personal, emotional impact the present pandemic has had upon us. The focus in this Grief Brief will be upon the very strong feelings it has stirred up in each of us.
We may have had a personal loss before our country was stricken with this major health crisis. Perhaps there may have been losses of friends, acquaintances, or family members who have died presently from the virus. This has, no doubt, caused great sadness, especially if we had not yet healed from a grief experience that occurred in the past. Adding to this, we may have come to know renewed sadness, a deeper sense of loss, and perhaps anger over all that is transpiring.
We look now at these feelings and how we can adequately cope with them. First and foremost, our deep sadness or renewed sadness is very real. We have lost and may continue to be losing persons known and dear to us. We can’t deny the sorrow that has arisen within us. Having some means to communicate this sadness is important. If we are fortunate to have compassionate, trusting persons in our lives we can certainly talk about these sad, troubling feelings. Talking can relieve the burden of strong feelings over time. Listeners who are accepting of the deep feelings that a person is experiencing and can provide the comfort of a caring and listening heart will offer a true gift. We talk as much and as often as we need to and don’t deny how difficult life has become for us.
For those who are less connected with others there is always the choice of writing out one’s feelings. Journaling, as much or as little as needed to bring relief from stored feelings, is always helpful. Talking, as well as writing might be a need for some. The important thing is that once expressed, these pent up feelings are liberated, at least for a while, from saddened and hurting hearts and minds. These feelings are much too strong to deny. Many will turn to their God to communicate what they are experiencing and to receive the needed strength to go on.
Anger over what has occurred and is still occurring can easily accompany the sadness we feel. Anger arises easily when we realize how our lives have been radically changed. Life, as we know it, now seems to have placed unbelievable burdens upon families, friends, and people, in general. Life is filled with unfair circumstances caused by the relentless virus.
As we consider the many angry feelings that well up within us, we are led to question the meaning of it all. How have our lives been changed? How has our world changed? Can there be any positive outcomes from this experience? What is next for our lives?
The outpouring of care and concern for the afflicted is duly noted by all. The concern of those providing care so tirelessly touches the hearts of all who witness it, calling forth depths of gratitude. Efforts to reach out and help, where needed, are visible and are increasing each day. Finding meaning in it all, as already mentioned, and recognizing the many efforts in place to mediate the situation, leads us to do some very deep thinking.
But what about the anger? Will it go away on its own? Taking measures to alleviate it through positive means are so necessary. Once again, talking out the many causes of our anger, or writing them out is helpful. When blaming, criticizing, or questioning take precedence these can lead us to a very unsatisfying and unhealthy place. Taking care of oneself in whatever ways that will keep us strong in body and spirit is paramount. Reaching out to help others in any ways that are possible, will provide an avenue for dissipating sadness, anger, or whatever feelings that might be troubling us. Crying out to the God we know, much as the psalmists and prophets of old have done, can help as well.
Being able to survive these devastating circumstances by taking the measures that will keep us well, balanced, and emotionally strong will undoubtedly bring us to the place where we might choose to be.