Hello! I'm back after taking a break from writing for a couple of weeks. It was a much-needed pause where I focused on solely spending quality time with my family, celebrating my birthday, and even managed to sneak away for a brief mountain-getaway with my husband. Halleluja!
Although fleeing to the mountains was a welcomed change of scenery, I couldn't help but be reminded of how bizarre the world is right now. For one, I have never been to a restaurant where I had to wear a mask if I left my chair. I've never been to a hotel where I wasn't allowed to use the hot tub, or where I could only walk to the front desk using one side of the lobby. Although I completely understand why these measures are in place, it is still bizarre, to say the least.
Besides wearing masks and sanitizing our hands until they are stripped dry, I think one of the most difficult aspects of our new reality is the significant change of structure. This pandemic has caused a complete upheaval and loss of structure and routine. Working from home, or not working at all due to lost jobs, homeschooling kids, loss of childcare, loss of celebrations, loss of sanity, loss of human connection, or in my case, the loss of a loved one, are only a handful of the losses we have endured. It's been a year filled with loss, loss, loss. Do you know what accompanies loss? Grief.
And so, how do we navigate this plethora of loss?
I'll tell you what you don't do. You do not pretend that everything is 'hunky-dory', as my mom used to say. Let me dig into the most vulnerable part of my heart and tell you how I know this.
When we returned home from the mountains last week, I felt good. I felt like I had a couple of days to focus on my marriage and to enjoy a change of scenery. Leading up to our mini-trip, I was just on the verge of being burnt out. Let me say, becoming burnt out doesn't happen overnight. It's an accumulation of time where you are on 'go mode' without stopping to acknowledge how you are doing. I have to be a mom: go. I have to be a wife: go. I have a house to take care of and meals to cook: go. I have to be a good friend and family member: go. I need to exercise every day: go. I'm going to start a business: go. I have to be happy: go. Does this sound like a familiar routine?
However, although I thought that going to the mountains would be the equivalent of me hitting the 'reset button', it was more. Having two days to slow down and breathe with a clear mind should have been enjoyable. And it was! But what it also did was allow me to think of all the things that are making me sad right now, the thoughts that I always push to the back of my mind. You know, the ones that are uncomfortable to think about? It brought to the surface all of my grievances and emotions, which led to this past week being extremely hard for me, and lots of tears.
Last night, I allowed myself to crumble. I went to the basement and cried harder than I have in months. I wrapped my arms around myself like I knew my mom would have done for me and I gave myself permission to feel everything that needed to be felt. And you know what? It had to be done.
You cannot outrun, out-cook, out-write, out-laugh, out-ignore, grief.
I miss my brother so much, to the point where my heart physically hurts some days and it's hard to breathe. I miss hugging everybody and seeing my nana twice a week. I miss meeting with other moms at our local kids' cafe to chat while the kids play. I miss feeling normal during my weekly grocery trip to Superstore, as opposed to this new anxiety that creeps in when somebody is too close to me in the produce section. Seriously Becky, back away from the bananas.
I bet you are missing lots too. I bet you are struggling like me. You might not be struggling in the same ways as me, but you are probably going through your own grieving process.
Here's what I want you to do:
Take care of yourself. Nurture yourself with love, grace, and acceptance. Cry if tears feel healing.
Allow yourself to be pissed off. Don't fight it. A healthy dose of brief anger can be beneficial.
Reach out (while maintaining 6 feet of distance) for people who can help you. Talk to friends, loved ones, or professionals. They are there for a reason. Just make sure that rather than your support system telling you what to do, they are guiding you to find the answers for yourself, while metaphorically holding you with love and care.
Acknowledge it. Don't you dare pretend that it's not happening. Ignorance might seem like bliss but it's also a ticking time bomb.
This is all so friggen hard. Human beings, by nature, are planners. Right now we cannot plan for anything. Everything is unknown. It's frustrating, I get it. But let's all breathe in and breathe out. Let's all hold hands (virtually) and walk through this hell-on-earth together. For every negative story we see on tv or in social media, let's purposely seek out one full of love and positivity. Hope and faith will be our guides.