Taking the time to grieve what we’ve lost

I’ve been feeling really tired the last few days. Even first thing in the morning, after a solid night’s sleep.

I’ve been finding it hard to get motivated to do things, and just feeling like hunkering down with a book or film.

And, I’ve been irritable. Lacking the patience with my son that I might usually have.

I wasn’t sure what was underneath it, I felt kind of numb.

But I’d heard a lot of people saying that they were experiencing something similar, the exhaustion, the lack of motivation.

I guessed maybe it was just part of a collective shock that we might all be experiencing as a result of the current crisis.

 But last night in my listening partnership, after talking around and around for quite some time, I hit upon some feelings.

I realised that I was feeling grief about all that I and my family have lost as a result of this global situation.

As you may know, we had been just about to move back to my home town. This move had been a long time in the making, and finally, everything just seemed to be lining up effortlessly.

Everything was falling into place. It was wonderful.

And then all of a sudden, news of the coronavirus … increasing restrictions in both the country we currently live, and the one we were supposed to be moving to.

Everything was suddenly in question.

Then our accommodation was cancelled … our flights were cancelled … my husband’s new work contract didn’t come through at the last minute.

It was all over.

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🤔 Now, throughout this time, the “thinking” part of my brain has been telling me things like …

If we’re all going to be in isolation anyway, this isn’t a bad place to be stuck. It’s actually quite lovely here.

If we had managed to get back, it wouldn’t be the life I was so looking forward to getting back to anyway, with friends, family, activities, and all our favourite cafes, restaurants, playgrounds, and beaches.

My rational mind was also telling me, so many people are having a hard time of it right now, a really hard time. We are lucky. We still have a job, a house, our health.

And all this is true.

👉 Yet, I wasn’t acknowledging my grief that this next step of ours has been yanked away from us.

That was what was really true for me, in my body.

It took having the space and the warm attention of my listening partner for me to feel the safety I needed to connect with those feelings, that had been pushed deep down.

I was supported by her acknowledgement of how important this step had been to me, how long we’d been working for it, and how much I’d felt had been riding on.

And all this helped me to connect more deeply with my feelings about this loss, and to have a really good cry.

🥰 This morning, I woke up with my normal energy. I felt lighter and brighter. More connected with myself. More able to connect with my family members, especially my son.

Notably, my son also woke up in a good mood, and was happy to chat and play with me (he’s also been irritable the last few mornings, and eager to get on the screen as soon as possible).

I realised that not having really connected with and released my grief is what had kept me feeling so weary and disconnected all week.

😕 When we don’t give space to feel the feelings, allowing the sadness to flow, it can show up in our body and our spirit.

My nervous system was in a bit of “Shut Down” (where the parasympathetic nervous system had become dominant).

And it had been rubbing off on my boy. I see this as an example of how the state of our nervous system can be “contagious”.

Taking the time to feel my feelings, to release the stored sympathetic activation through crying, helped my nervous system to return to a “Safe and Social” state, where I feel more energetic and engaged with life.

And in doing so, my son also got the signal that everything was okay, that we were safe, and as a result, he felt more calm, content and connected.

💞 I wonder have you been feeling this way – exhausted, unmotivated, like withdrawing from the world?

And, if so, I invite you to feel into what you have lost as a result of this global pandemic?

No matter how small or insignificant it might feel compared to others’ losses, I encourage you to give yourself the permission, time, space and support to grieve those losses.

I’m sending you all lots of empathy and compassion for wherever you are at, and whatever feelings might be surfacing for you.

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