When my oldest child was born in the fall of 2001 it was a glorious event. Witnessing the birth of a child is one of the most amazing experiences, and if you’ve had that opportunity, I’m sure you would agree. Sometimes we forget how small babies are at the beginning. They are tiny. The birth of a child brings many emotions, hopes, and dreams for the future. Who will this little person grow up to be?
When my son was born that fall, I remember figuring out with my wife what year he would graduate from high school. The Class of 2020. That seemed very cool, and very far away at the time. Just imagine all that has happened over these past 18 years. Youth sports, school concerts, middle school graduation, birthday parties, getting his driver’s license, first date, first job, the list of accomplishments goes on and on, until it suddenly stops.
This is a tough year. I feel for everyone who is missing out. We are all missing out on so much. For the class of 2020 - senior activities, honor banquets, scholarship nights, volleyball season, graduation, and maybe most importantly, spending time with your high school friends, some of whom you may never see again. There is a great sense of loss that perhaps isn’t being fully felt just yet. We are still in the midst of the crisis. Oftentimes with loss there is a singular event that happens, and then we move past and through it. But we’re not there yet. We are realizing the missing out and the losses as the days pass, but we’re still not certain of what comes next. I fear that this sustained period of crisis is going to take a toll on many of us, the results of which we haven’t yet seen. When I run into people, I ask how they are doing. “Hanging in there” they say. So, I would say to you all, “good job, keep hanging in there.”
I’m not an expert on grief, and I am challenged to deal with and process my own emotions at times. But I believe that as we continue through this time, we need to be thoughtful of the impact this is having on us. We need to grieve, because there is loss. Many people have lost loved ones during and because of this pandemic, and they are being denied the opportunity to grieve because they can’t gather with friends and family to memorialize those loved ones. While we need to remain strong and to be there for one another, we also need to be honest that this is hard, and that we need help. It is ok to grieve, it is ok to admit that we are at a loss, and it is ok to ask for help. Perhaps in this time of loss and grief we can simply be there for one another. If you’re like me and not a big talker, perhaps you can be a great listener. Check in with your neighbors (by phone or facetime of course), and see how they are, offer support, and listen.
“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear…” - C.S. Lewis