You Can’t Outrun Pandemic Grief

COVID unified us, in a way. With everyone hurting, it became easier to talk about grief. And we had to talk about it — we couldn’t escape it. Over 600,000 American families lost someone (often more than one person) to the virus. Healthcare workers saw wartime medicine conditions. Whole cities emptied out, the silence punctuated by sirens. We washed our groceries before bringing them inside, eyed others with suspicion, wondered if the air itself was a direct threat to life. We missed births, funerals and momentous occasions, all in the name of trying to stay alive.

But now, with vaccination rates rising in the U.S., and the warm summer months beckoning, the rush back to “normal” is upon us. We all need a break from the pain and uncertainty of recent months… and yet, the quest for normalcy could override our need to process what’s happened to us.

The kind of cognitive distancing we’re seeing now is a normal human trait. As humans, we manage emotional intensity by forcing some space from it. We tend to approach things as an oppositional equation: you can either focus on your losses, or you can celebrate the future. You can stay in the dark, hard moments of the pandemic, or you can celebrate your survival. Which one will it be?

We’ve been at these cultural crossroads before.

It’s been true throughout all of human history: when we can’t talk openly about grief, it just finds another way to speak.

Click this link in to read my essay on WBUR: You Can’t Outrun Pandemic Grief.

How about you? How does this transition out of full pandemic mode feel to you? Let us know in the comments.

flame-heart-100Wishing for some company inside your grief? The Writing Your Grief course and community isn’t like most places on the internet. Here you can tell the whole truth about your grief and your love – and you won’t hear any comments with backhanded judgement about you, your person, or your grief. No advice, no judgement, no cheerleading – just acknowledgment and support. We always have room for you. All the information about it is right here.