There have been many who have talked about how grief is an emotion many of us are experiencing during this pandemic… and it fits. I did a session last week on how to help high school seniors grieve and it was brought up how much the information can be helpful to anyone. Grief is something our society does not particularly do well. If you have a death in your family you get one or two weeks off work (if you are lucky) and then back to normal is the expectation. We don’t focus on the actual process of grieving and expect it to be a checklist through the five stages… the only thing this is not the way grief works. Grief is a winding road, it is complicated, and there is no map.
I am the type of person who likes to plan. I enjoy lists and I was happiest in college because I got a syllabus for each class… maybe that is why I stayed in college for 11 years! Putting due dates on my calendar brought me comfort. I knew what was coming and I could plan. Even if it was a class I hated, at least I knew when it would end and I knew what I had to do to get through it… but that is not how grief works. There is no timeline and as much as we want to control the process we can’t.
These are the exact emotions I am feeling currently. I have been on the struggle bus this week and have been trying to figure out what specifically is causing me such sadness and angst. It hit me this morning… I am struggling not knowing when all this will end. I feel like if I could count down the days, I would be doing so much better… but that is not the reality… and the feeling is the same I felt when my mom died and I had no clue how long my hurt would ache.
We, more like I, love to pretend I have control of life. If I am honest the lists and my love of a syllabus and deadlines give me a sense of control in life. I can plan and then feel accomplished when I can cross off items… this type of control makes me feel a sense of worth… and here I sit having to come to the hard realization this control I once thought I had was not actually control… it was business and as much as I like to feel like business is control, it never will be. All business does is help us avoid deep and intense feelings… feelings that aren’t always pleasant.
So here I sit having to realize, once again my business is not control… it is avoidance. Since I can no longer avoid these emotions, I have to face my dislike of learning that my worth is not my accomplishments. My worth is not how much I’m doing or things I’m crossing off a list. My worth isn’t acceptance (or rejection) by others… my worth has always been me just being. The faster I can accept and believe this truth, the better I can enjoy this winding road instead of despise it. ￼