settling in for the journey

I suspect Elizabeth Kübler-Ross' stages of grief might be useful for us in setting ourselves for the next few months.

Last Saturday night as we lay in bed, Maria says, "You know we should have been on a flight to Italy right now." I had completely forgotten. Pretty much everything I had been looking forward to this year will now not happen, at least in the manner we had expected. Not the least of which will be welcoming our first grandchildren into the world ... we can't imagine what that will be like if social distancing is still necessary.

The financial, social and mental impacts of this thing will hit us all at different times, depending on how long it takes for inconvenience to turn into disruption all the way through to devastation. In my bubble, I think we are still mostly in denial. Sure there has been significant disruption and we've all adapted to working from home and/or social distancing and there has been an explosion of creativity and yes, thankfully, some hilarious youtube videos. There is some novelty about the whole thing, but I suspect it will get uglier.

The grief process is applicable - we have lost so much of what we need and love. According to Kübler-Ross' model, denial is followed by anger and depression before we start to emerge to cultivate a way forward that is sustainable, if that's even the right term. I like the image above because it recognises that the process is not linear and that we bounce around the different responses depending on what is going on in our lives.

I've pulled this out for myself so I can anticipate emotions as they begin to surface. Rather than suppress them, I will acknowledge that these are a legitimate and indeed necessary set of responses to experience if we are to navigate our way through.

As I understand this process, the grief never subsides. You don't fix grief. But there are ways to navigate it that help us reach toward wellbeing on the other side.


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