This pandemic has affected me more than I have been willing to admit. I have to be honest, when I first heard about the outbreak, like most I did not understand the severity of it. There had been little to no reported cases in the US. Even with our first reported case I still wasn’t too concerned because it was so far from the east coast. I figured it wasn’t something a quarantine couldn’t take care of.
Weeks go by and more and more cases are being reported. These cases are getting closer and closer to home. Now we are in the middle of March and an email comes through at work. It is a message from the CEO and he is imploring that all associates that can, work from home until further notice. Initially not going to lie I was not sad about that at all. It would save time and gas with no commute and not to mention this is an introverts dream come true.
Things begin to get more and more serious and the death toll is rising. Self-preservation kicks in and the only way to bear the stories of grieving families dealing with sudden loss is to push it away. All the while story after story I’ve read on Facebook or heard through word of mouth is being stored in my subconscious. Although I was limiting my news intake from television I couldn’t seem to close my social media apps and it was doing a number on my emotions unknowingly. Thinking back now, days I was a little more snippy with my family than usual, I had probably read about another heart wrenching story of a mother losing a child due to the virus after symptoms seemed to improve. Or I saw a video clip of a funeral with only 10 people in attendance. Couldn’t help but imagine how hard it must be to need the love, comfort, and support from family and friends and just can not because of COVID.
The hardest part for me during this pandemic has not been fewer date nights because everything is closed or 24/7 children running around with no relief but bedtime; but watching people die and grieve alone. For one second, as best I could, I put myself in the shoes of someone taking their last breaths without a loved one near to hold their hand. I imagined myself standing over the body of someone I loved and turning around to go back to my seat an seeing a sea of empty pews. To sum it up it has left me heartbroken. Pushing these emotions and feelings away only work for so long. Being an empath I’ve always been a person that carried and felt things very deeply. I try to avoid situations that trigger sadness because sadness for me is a little more intense and lingers. I do not handle death, grief and loss well. This pandemic is causing me to face this head on. Thankfully I have not lost anyone close to me during this time; but I would be lying if I said there was not some anxiety as we do not know who may be next. People are getting the diagnosis and dying 14 days later even with signs of improvement. Because things are still so uncertain it’s difficult for someone to still their heart when we don’t know what’s next.
It’s okay to be sad and it’s okay to grieve even if you haven’t lost anyone. Life as we know it has changed. We don’t know when things will be back to normal and we are all just doing the best we can. Give yourself permission to feel whatever feelings or emotions may be coming up for you. Find something you DO have control over, find at least 3 things to be grateful for EVERY DAY (gratitude has changed my life), and take comfort in knowing you aren’t alone.
There’s a quote that I came across one day that says, “In the end it will be okay. If it’s not okay it’s not the end.” Hang in there.