Grief

Grief is something we are all experiencing right now, to different degrees.  Some are grieving seeing friends or family, cancelled trips, cancelled wedding plans, concerts, plays, and other events.  Some are grieving the loss of a loved one, complicated by the fact that they cannot gather with family. 

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identified five stages of grief:  denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  Grief is not linear, so we move in and out of the stages.  We have to be gentle with each other, as we each demonstrate grief in different ways.

For example, denial may look like people who are confused about why staying home would make any difference.  Or they may express fear or shock.  They may avoid listening to any news or other reports.  Anger might show up as anxiety.  Everyday tasks may seem more frustrating than normal.  Everyone in your household or even on tv may irritate you.  Bargaining could be as straightforward as I can go anywhere as long as I wear gloves and a mask.  Or, it could be struggling to find meaning in all of this.  It could be sharing your story, or reaching out to others.  Depression is not just for those who often experience depression.  Depression may show up as being overwhelmed with information, learning new technologies, figuring out work or school from home.  It could also show up as a feeling of helplessness.  We might lash out at those around us.  We may have to fight an urge to run away (literally or figuratively).  Acceptance might mean staying home as much as possible.  It could be putting a new plan in place.  Exploring options that are available to you, like visiting a museum virtually, making time for phone calls or video calls with those you love. 

However you grieve during this time of shelter in place, please give yourself time and space to grieve.  Allow yourself or others to feel the feelings they have.  Offer kindness and encouragement when you can.  Express love.  Be gentle with yourself, and with one another.

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