Everyone is hurting – don’t judge the pain
The year is 2020 and the world is experiencing a global pandemic unlike anything our generation has ever seen. Countries are in lockdown, schools are shut, people are wearing masks and travel is now a thing of the past.
My city is currently in its second lockdown which basically means we can’t leave our homes except for essential outings- ie. exercise, work, medical and shopping. Masks are also mandatory every time we leave the house. I know. Fun times.
Here’s the thing though. Our first lockdown was bearable in some ways. I only speak for myself but I kind of enjoyed it. Working from home was something I did anyway and having the whole family with me was a novelty. I loved the routine we had of morning walks and family lunches. The kids fell in sync with their online learning schedules and looked forward to the daily treats I usually had awaiting them at snack time. Yes, I fell victim to the dreaded banana bread and even branched out to upside down pineapple cake – I know- who even am I?!
So when our Covid numbers started dropping and cafes, schools and restaurants reopened, we all cautiously celebrated. We gave ourselves a pat on the back for managing to stay away from friends and family, for home schooling our kids and for not turning into complete alcoholics.
Our joy was short lived. For whatever reason, our numbers are now the highest they’ve ever been and we are back in lockdown. Borders are shut, planes have been grounded and fines are being handed out to anyone attempting to leave Brighton. It’s tough times for all.
So back in lockdown we go, for 6 weeks this time or until certain members of our community can manage to keep it in their pants.
Needless to say, morale is down and we’re all holding on to hope that restrictions are lifted soon before we’re all subjected to round two of banana cake and sour dough discussions in our group chats.
Don’t laugh! You know it’s happening. And if you’re not exchanging recipes, then you’re 100 percent sharing Covid memes and funny GIFs to get you through this time.
We’re all feeling a sense of loss and that’s okay. We’ve all lost something and many are lamenting what could’ve been.
And here’s where things get ugly. We’re all mourning in one way or another. We’re all experiencing a type of loss. Our lives in some cases are playing out very differently to what we imagined.
For some it may be cancelling a planned holiday. For others perhaps giving birth during lockdown has made them feel even more isolated. With no mother’s group or support network you can only imagine how daunting becoming a new parent would be during these times.
Please don’t tell these new mums to ‘just be grateful to have a healthy baby.’ I’m a million percent sure they are extremely grateful and feel so blessed with their little miracle. But we have to allow them the opportunity to express how different this all feels for them. Allow them to mourn for things we all took for granted. Like playing in the park and the contact with other women which helped our sanity during the dreaded witching hour. New mums, you know exactly what I’m talking about!
Others may have been planning their wedding and now find themselves having to push it back a year. Or perhaps a new business opened at just the wrong time and was doomed to fail before it even began.
Problem is, some people are being made to feel that their loss is superficial and not important in the grand scheme of things.
Yes, we know the world is suffering at the moment. We know there are WAY more important problems than our cancelled holidays. We know to be grateful for what we have. We know!
So please stop downplaying the loss people are feeling. Or somehow assuming we can’t be empathetic to more than one cause at a time. You can feel bad about Covid at the same time as feeling bad about not being on your holiday. The two aren’t mutually exclusive!
A well known entrepreneur was dragged on social media recently after she posted photos of the European vacation she was meant to be on this year. Some sour cows decided to make her feel bad for her moment of reflection. Telling her ‘she should be grateful for what she has.’
Really, Karen? Do you think she doesn’t know how lucky she is? How blessed she is to live the life she does? Does that mean she can’t also post photos of a beautiful Italian beach wishing she was there right now? That her loss isn’t allowed to be expressed because it’s not tragic enough?
We’re not stupid. We know there are many levels of loss. We know which ones matter. We have perspective.
But we’re all navigating through this pandemic the best we can. Let’s not turn this into a competition. There is no right or wrong way of feeling. Some days we’re grateful for having a roof over our heads and other days we wish we were drinking cocktails by the beach. That doesn’t make you a bad person. That doesn’t make you less empathetic than the friend who keeps posting health stats on their social media feed.
It’s okay. Don’t feel guilty and don’t feel bad. Feel whatever the F you want to. At the end of the day – we’re all just doing the best we can.
So please don’t judge the pain, we’re all hurting.
(For the significance of the Charlotte York image, read this.)