My friend told me she feels guilty about her sadness at missing her oldest son’s high school graduation when so many people have lost their lives to Corona virus.
I told her there is nothing to feel guilty about. There is no yardstick for grief. Yes, it can always be worse, yet why don’t we feel better when someone says this?
We are all experiencing loss right now of every magnitude.
We have lost our physical communities.
We have lost trust in our leaders.
We have lost milestone celebrations.
We have lost the freedom to travel freely.
We have lost the chance to attend that special concert.
We have lost our spot on the beach.
We have lost the ability to kiss our grandchildren.
And much more.
Some losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic aren’t apparent at first. They hit us as our child’s birthday approaches. The hit us as we flip the calendar: Cape Cod trip.
These losses may seem small but they add up. They loom large in our heart.
Before the pandemic, I tried keeping a gratitude journal as espoused by so many self-help gurus. My entries tended toward big things: family, friends, health, work, and home. It was hard to think of the small things.
That is, until they are gone.
Here’s one thing I missed early on: my morning writing space at the library. This sunny glass room with a view. Free to use—just sign up.
Why didn’t this appear in my gratitude journal?
Because I couldn’t fathom losing it.
I have a good imagination. Over-active sometimes. I write fiction, after all. Yet, I never imagined that in March 2020 a world-wide pandemic would close my special writing space in Boston.
Often, we don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone. Trite but true.
I am confident that I’ll have this writing space back in the near future.
But you only get one high school graduation.
Acknowledge your losses. Grieve them, no matter how small. Find comfort. Think of something to look forward to. Make a list of what you still have.
And remember, it’s okay to miss the small stuff. Manicures and malls. Coffee shops and handshakes. Smiles from strangers.
So go ahead, tell me what you miss, big and small.
No yardsticks here.