Ever had a day where a tidal wave knocks you down before your first cup of coffee? Then, just as you regain your balance, a bigger wave slams you right back under? Yep, me too.
At the moment, five of our closest twelve family members have tested positive for the gnarly disease our world has been wrestling for what seems like forever.
It reached a point where I was terrified to check my phone as we quickly went from 25% to 33% of our family affected, and now who knows the percentage as several more await test results.
Struggling to take in the barrage of hard news, I made a comment to a friend that all this medical mess was making me really sad. His response was quick, “you shouldn’t feel sad.” He went on to explain all the reasons I shouldn’t feel sad. The symptoms could be worse, these kids and adults are all otherwise healthy… the list went on. While those things were true, my sadness was also very real, as several of my closest humans on the planet are dealing with this scary and unpredictable disease.
Permission to Feel what You Feel
This well-intended encounter reminded me of a few things that ring true when grief, in whatever form, sneaks into your life:
- It’s OK to feel sad. I grew up in a wildly optimistic environment, where it was OK to cry for a minute, but then your options were to a) get a band aid, or b) call an ambulance, or c) go jump on the trampoline. “Don’t worry. Be happy” was the soundtrack of my childhood, so believe me when I say I’m still figuring out how to hold sadness and hope simultaneously; but I fully believe both can coexist.
- Squashing emotions can lead to unhealthy coping strategies: mega doses of Oreos, tequila, Netflix binges, or whatever else feels good for a minute.
- Comments about what someone should or shouldn’t feel when they’ve been crushed by bad news can make them feel shut down, dismissed, or that what they’re feeling isn’t valid.
- Inadvertently dropping this kind of comment, while I’m in the thick of writing a grief book, could likely become a chapter title! Thank you.
Ever need a “grief sesh?”
My lovely Instagram friends, Sal and Im, (Good Mourning Podcast co-hosts from Sydney) have come up with a name for an intense time of sadness, when you intentionally lean into everything you’re feeling- and allow yourself time and space to shamelessly deep dive into all the emotions. The Grief Sesh. Thank you, ladies for giving it a name, and letting the world know it’s OK to feel sadness.
The third day, as Covid diagnoses kept pouring in, I traveled to be (socially distant) closer to one of our kids. After a day full of running around to gather groceries, and anything I could imagine that might be comforting, I returned to my hotel. With no warning, the tears started to flow, and I was suddenly swept up into my first grief sesh in a long time. Goodness, I needed that. As I woke the next morning, it felt as though a refreshing rain had washed over my soul.
Quick family update: At this point, our five family members are together, making the best of this hard situation. Please pray with us for our “quaran-team” – for healing, strength, and that they return to 100% awesomeness really soon. Love, Beth