There’s a feeling we’re all feeling.
It doesn’t belong to me and it doesn’t belong to you. It sits in a bedroom in Wuhan and a hospital ward in New York and a studio apartment in Milan. It’s here and it’s there and it’s impossible to find a place where it isn’t.
It reaches into every home and every town and it stole your mid-year holiday but it stole her father and his wife and a 95-year-old man is alone in his home and a mother of four just lost her only source of income and a business built on hope and hard work just closed its doors and it’s all a maze that has no way out.
You get lost in the dead ends.
The feeling probably keeps you awake at night. Your mind invents worries that six months ago would’ve been consistent with Generalised Anxiety Disorder but now are very real threats. Your anxiety is logical. Normal. An accurate reflection of the current State Of Things.
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It’s late at night, and the person laying beside you, or in the next room, or in the house next door, is probably awake too. They’re feeling that same feeling. A feeling that brings with it thoughts we don’t want to say out loud because if we do we transmit them to others, burdening them with another worry they might not have thought of yet.
Part of what we’re feeling is anxiety. Rage. Disappointment. Powerlessness. But even more than all that – we’re overwhelmed with profound and uncomfortable grief.
David Kessler, the world’s foremost expert on grief, says we are grieving the loss of the world as we knew it. “We are not used to this kind of collective grief in the air,” he says.
Grief coats the sky much like the thick smoke that enveloped our cities only two months ago. It felt like for a whole season we couldn’t play in parks or walk around the block or swim in the local pool, because our air quality was so awfully compromised. Fragments of ash settled in our hair, and our sky was no longer blue but grey, as though we were stuck in twilight for days at a time.
And it seemed that at the very moment our fires were extinguished, the outside became menacing for a new reason.
We are grieving the lives we used to lead, the small joys we took for granted.
We are grieving holidays that were cut short or we never got to take, months or years of savings lost because of something we couldn’t have anticipated.