Day 97: This Holiday Season is Different
I believe that the pandemic has extended the experience of acute grief, that initial phase of bereavement when all is a bit surreal, and every molecule of your brain, body, and heart is devoted to getting to the next day, or oscillating to some much-needed numbness.
I believe this because I have noticed how the pandemic offered for some (and certainly not all) some not-hoped-for-but-welcomed shelter from going about business as usual. Meaning—it felt like more people than ever were living in some version of acute grief. And then, there wasn’t the option to go out and experience one’s loss in the world, which is often what makes it more real and eventually, assists in the process of integrating grief.
As many grievers reemerge into versions of their former lives (such as going to a concert, or getting on an airplane, or eating at a particular restaurant, or getting to see certain family members), they are met with the overwhelming experience of what is different—that their person and their former life is no longer available. And that the retreat (both internal and external) of the pandemic isn’t as readily available.
So here we are. The holidays—and the holidays with vaccinations on hand. And then add on a major loss and all of this adds up to some extra rawness.
So go slow. Drink water. Schedule escapes to quiet. And be kind to yourself.
It’s ok if it feels harder this year. It would make sense.