Navigating Loss, COVID-19 & Trusting The Grand Plan
Updated: May 2, 2020
Have some Faith. We have all heard that statement before but how many times have we actually trusted this statement. How do we blindly trust and be hopeful when all we feel is hopeless.
Don't worry you're not alone. Its completely okay to feel what you are feeling. It is okay to be confused, it is okay to feel tired, it is okay to not feel super motivated, it is okay to feel sad, it is okay to grieve the loss of time or events that you had planned for or were looking forward to. It's not everyday that the world gets hit by a world wide pandemic that is changing the course of history and time itself. I get it, you may be grieving. I know I am. I needed time to grieve the loss of the wedding I planned for and to finally accept that it may never really play out the way I had originally planned for it to. The loss of all the planning, the loss of the the ideas, the loss of imagination. The loss of walking down the aisle in the most elegant dress you couldn’t wait to wear. You may relate, and might be feeling waves of sadness because, you also had plans. You may have imagined you would be attending your high school prom, or walking across the stage getting handed your diploma, or degree, that you worked so hard for, in your cap and gown, with loved ones cheering you along, as you reach a long awaited academic milestone in your life. You might just be grieving the loss of not being able to take that vacation you patiently waited months to take and saved up for. You might be grieving the loss of your job, difficulty with your business closure, or experiencing extreme financial burdens. The fear of not knowing how you will be able to support your family, pay your bills, loans, mortgage payments, and risk losing the security you worked so hard to build. You might just be grieving the idea of your first child’s baby shower, and feeling extreme feelings of anxiousness giving birth to your baby in an infectious world which is deemed "unsafe."You may be grieving the loss of life itself, the grief of families who have been impacted by losing their loved ones to this silent, yet deadly illness. You may not have had any milestone events to look forward to, or experienced any financial burdens, yet, you may still be grieving. You may just be grieving the grief of others, and the experiences that thousands around the world have been experiencing. You are experiencing Grief.
Grief. Grief has its stages, just like the lifecycle of a butterfly, it has to manifest itself into different forms, some which may look familiar and some, not so much. A butterfly has to go through some serious growthwork in order for it to recieve its wings. Now, before I go into this analogy, I want you to understand that the lifecycle of butterfly, undergoes a lenghty transformation before receiving its wings. It starts off as a tiny egg alone and afraid, adjusting into the body of a catepillar, wrapping itself up into a cocoon to finally shedding its skin and releasing its wings as a butterfly. The cylce of Metamorphosis is then complete. Now follow along as I describe the stages of grief, and keep in mind the butterfly process.
Denial. You and I both may have experienced this stage when the Pandemic first began. There was chaos and confusion. Everyone pretended to be a health expert with their own opinions and predictions. Some people played it down, and well, people gave into the hype and were panicking to the point that it led to a shortage of toilet paper. The stage where you start off as a confused litte egg not knowing what life has planned for you, or what stages await you.
Anger. Quarantine and Self Isolation. Now the anger probably began when parents had to deal with schools transitioning to online learning and children were on an undefined summer vacation from home, local businesses were ordered to shut down indefinitely, millions of people lost their jobs and companies shifted to working from home. Zoom became a platform for meetings, and the definition of family “quality” time, has never been more real as it has now. Domestic violence and abuse cases have spiked. Financial budens have become tighter than ever, and the word struggle, is an understatement. This is the stage of when the egg contemplates becoming a catepillar, is scared of what to expect, fears the unknown, and basically has no other choice but to conform.
Bargaining. To simply put it -- you have become a negotiater. You are trying to abide by the rules of social isolation, but it gets overwhelming. You think of breaking the rules, but you fear the consequences. You are trying to find meaning of it all. You are trying to make a plan B, but you get defeated by the thought of uncertainty. The things about plans is that they don't take into the unexpected, so when you get thrown a curveball, you have to improvise. This is when you are trying to cope in whatever way you can. The stage when the egg grows into a caterpillar, but has to adjust to now having so many legs, a different body shape, and morphing into what life had inevitably planned for him.
Depression. Withdrawal. You have started to communicate less with friends and family, everything has just become exhaustive for you. You grieve the loss of the events, job, finances, plans that you had hoped for, and you think about how they simply will not be happening anytime soon. Your appetite changes. Your sleep becomes irregular. Your weight fluctuates. You are probably bing watching Netflix during this stage, wearing pajamas all day, and eating all your quarantine snacks. This is the part when the catepillar has wrapped himself into his cocoon shell, and has truly isolated from the rest of the world.
Acceptance. The Butterfly. You have come to finally accept the situation as it is, and you found some way to cope mentally through lifes roller coaster of emotions. You will still have your moments of weakness, and that is okay-- but you have found a way to make the best with the cards you have been dealt. So your graduation got cancelled --you dress up in your cap and gown and take pictures in back yard while still having a virtual graduation. Congratulations, you officially went through a metamophosis! You took life’s most sourest lemons, and made some sweet lemonade. That is acceptance, that is having grown wings, keeping your head up, and trying to stay somewhat positive.
So have some faith. Have faith that things will get better (God willing), that things will turn around to brighter days. That you will be able to see your friends and family again. That you will be able to still graduate, get married, have your reunions, and give birth to a healthy baby. Have some faith that that you will still be able, to still be able. As for now the only things we know for certain, is what we have, here in the moment. Indulge in the time alone, and with those around you. Take notice of all things, good or bad, and just be in control over the moment, be mindful of your five senses. We have no control over the future, or tomorrow, but what we do have control over, is how we plant the seeds of hope in our heart and mind.