Post Pandemic Grief - "Sink or Swim"
Updated: Jan 5
"You know what the happiest animal on Earth is? It's a goldfish. You know why? Got a ten-second memory. Be a goldfish, Sam." - Ted Lasso
Depending on what state we live in, the pandemic may or may not be over, but hopefully, we are rounding the bend as a nation. So why don't some of us feel the celebratory relief we witness in others? Instead, many of us continue to dart about like goldfish in a bowl, our spirits and imaginations stymied, alone, worried, pensive.
Wouldn't it be nice if we found ourselves flitting about, surrounded by crystalline bubbles, buoyed far above the pain of the past 16 months? But, instead, some of us sink deeper and deeper into the dark waters of grief. Things that will never be the same and thoughts of what could have happened threaten to drown us.
While it's uplifting to see many have paddled on through, it's also conflicting and confounding. Am I not processing this as quickly as I should? Am I mucking about in self-pity when I should be shooting off fireworks? Many of us are still working it out. Hell, many of us are still living with limitations.
No matter where you are, some have moved on. I'm personally not there yet. I may never be....
Many of us. Scratch that. MOST of us are still experiencing the impact on our lives from the pandemic. Whether acknowledged or not, all of us have experienced community trauma.
One strategy in groups and organizations is a "we're back" declaration of normalcy from leadership. While it may work well for some to embrace a rapid turning away, we may need more time to process. If a rush to normalcy feels like toxic positivity to you, you're not alone.
It's hard to take the time to process it all, but creating rituals or practices to acknowledge the profound impacts on our lives from the pandemic may help. We might need to accept that we are in our own unique space. It's alright to feel that the ink is not yet dry at this historic moment. Being supportive of those who need to move on more quickly can help us accept where we are.
In all honesty, I kind of envy those who can forget it and move on in a hurry. I'm not the same person. I'm don't feel the same way I used to feel about many things. As a result, I'm not fully aware of all of the new aspects my post-pandemic self has yet to unveil.
Is it a better deal to be like Lasso's goldfish? Immersed in the gift of amnesia?
I do love Ted Lasso, and his platitudes are a blast. Being like a goldfish can serve us well in many instances, for example, when it comes to grudges and mistakes. If you're more like the goldfish with the pandemic, good for you, but if you see me struggling in the water, please take a moment and scoop me safely into your wake, ok? So many of us bobbing about out here are struggling to forget, and instead, we embrace it, we work through it, we dive deeper for the treasure of collective knowledge, strength, and compassion. And we welcome you to join us as we grow.
If you are experiencing grief due to the pandemic, I see you. It's ok if you are still hurting. Any loss you experience is essential. It's ok to be right where you are. You are not alone. We will get through it together.