Grieving Well After the Pandemic

Image representing grief, sad lake

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.”  

William Shakespeare

What does that even mean? 

I’ve spent many hours staring at those words and trying to determine their meaning.  My therapist has a picture of them on the wall in his office.  I no longer get to see them in our weekly sessions (thank you, Covid) but I am so thankful that I at least get to continue to see him during our virtual sessions.

What we have lost during the pandemic

So many of our lives were upended by the pandemic, mine included.  I know we are so tired of talking about it or feeling its effects.  But, the aftereffects are still ever present.  I hear about them weekly.  All of those years, lives, momentous occasions, milestones, and celebrations lost.  Some may say that we need to move on or forget it ever existed because it just gives the pandemic more power.  But, you see, the opposite is actually true.  We need to find words to give to our sorrow.  

Collective Trauma

It was a collective trauma that we have experienced.  In his article on Collective Trauma and the Social Construction of Meaning, Gilad Hirschberger writes:

“Collective trauma is a cataclysmic event that shatters the basic fabric of society. Aside from the horrific loss of life, collective trauma is also a crisis of meaning.” 

Haven’t we all experienced this to some degree?  The division, the rage, the hurt, the failure to find common ground is ever apparent in our current society.

The Wisdom of Shakespeare

Shakespeare was beyond wise in not only his pose and poetry but also in his knowledge of the human condition.  Grief that is not acknowledged will damage us, possibly physically, psychologically, or spiritually.  

Search for Meaning

We aren’t fine.  We aren’t back to normal or even the new normal.  Life was radically altered, and we need to create a narrative that makes sense for each of us personally.  Whenever tragic things occur, there is a tendency to wall off, put the thing in the box, or pretend we are fine.  This limits our ability to heal and when the next loss occurs, the unresolved grief comes roaring back. Grief is an inevitable part of life.  It is often a reflection of our love.

In Conclusion

There is beauty in healing and in shared stories.  Grief that is shared makes the burden so much lighter.  My own journey has proven this, as many tears were wept in that office long before the unimaginable global pandemic.  I have confidence that you have the courage to face your grief and sorrow too.  

Ready to ask for help? 

If you are finally ready to confront your grief and loss, please don’t hesitate to reach out to start your therapy journey.