I have been thinking about the loss of rituals because of this pandemic.
Rituals can be formal like communion or informal meeting a friend for coffee or a beer or birthday parties.
I have been thinking about the way in which we grieve. Depression is a disease that needs to be diagnosed and treated. It happens to many but not all.
Grief happens to all. We all experience loss. What we do with that grief often depends on what we have been taught.
My first great grief was the death of a cat. Dad was there to help my grief. Then I was slammed with my father's death when I was just short of 14 years old.
The protocol for grief for me included: living at a neighbor's house for a week to allow visiting relatives to use my bedroom, being separated and alone, being told not to cry and having smelling salts waved under my nose at the funeral home to stop me from crying.
Needless to say, that was a clinic on how to do some lasting damage about grieving.
I learned to cry.
I learned to shake my fist at the sky
and hock up a sound from my gut to my vocal cords that could break a glass without anyone hearing it.
This pandemic has given us all a lot to grieve:
Loss of loved ones and members of the human family across the globe
Loss of gathering places and events
Loss of a hug
Loss of family rituals, celebrations, future plans.
Loss of work and household routines.
I am been thinking lately that we need to learn how to grieve if we are ever going to heal, to have the energy to be creative with our own survival.
We don't need to be told to "stay positive." We are trying.
We don't need to be told "don't feel that way." That just adds shame to how we already feel.
We need a trash can in which to vomit the bile of loss. And a wet, cold washcloth to wipe our mouth.
Maybe it is a bonfire built of paper or wood and words written or spoken or silently burned.
Maybe it is a good long cry that ends with the cry-headache hangover.
Maybe it is howling until your neighbor's windows light up in the night.
It won't be a magical potion.
It won't mean the grief is gone for good.
It just is a way to survive
and get around to doing
something that is made of life.
Peace, my friends, peace be with you.