Trying to Shelf Grief Right Now

person in blue gloves holding petri dish
Photo by Anna Shvets on

Since the Pandemic has come, I can no longer make my life about grief. I can no longer sit in a ‘whoa is me’ pity pit. I can no longer make it about me and myself. There is a bigger world out there, a world where we are all isolated, scared, curious, anxious, and trying to do the right thing in our lives, for everyone else’s lives.

This might be the time for us to think collectively and not individually. It might be the time to put away our past angers, our past disappointments, our past grudges and forge ahead as one. This might be the time for me to put aside grief and face the storm brewing in front of me, a storm we are all watching. It might be the time where my sorrow, my longing for Peter are secondary to my children’s struggles, our nation’s standstill, our world’s collective angst. This might be the time for me to shelve my sorrow, my sadness and put the serious issues of my nation, of my world, on display.

I will not lie. The death of two amazing people in life within eight months, two people who took care of me, nurtured me, molded me, loved me and I them, and during  a pandemic, could have been brought my knees without any support to help me up again. I’m not going to lie. My isolation is even lonelier, scarier, uncertain, self-centered and more anxious without the two people I have been accustomed to carry me through the darkest moments all these years.  I’m not gong to lie, social distancing, alone, in a house full of memories that sometimes bring my grief to a level of self-destruction, has been one of the hardest events I have lived through to date. I’m not going to lie, this fucking sucks, all of it.

I should be curled up under my covers with a bottle of whiskey.  I should be wondering what is the purpose in all of this, in all of me. I should be living a Howard Hughes existence, paranoia,  unclipped toenails and all. But I’m not. I can’t. It wouldn’t be me.

See, I know all that is going on is not about me. It’s not about any one individual. It’s about all of us. It’s about how we come together as a family, a block, a neighborhood, a town, a state, a nation, a world. It’s how we take our one relatable nightmare – living through this pandemic – and connect in a way perhaps we never have before. It’s a way where we sacrifice for the good of the whole, and not the individual. It’s a way how we, as human beings on this earth, understand our fragility, the fragility of others, and do our best for one another. It’s the way we are thinking about each other at the same time and I’m not sure that happens in this world, not in my time.

So, maybe it’s the way I know my mother would have worried about the whole and not just her. Maybe it’s Peter’s voice in my head telling me “do what you can and that’s all you can do, but do it”. Maybe it’s the way both of them would want my thoughts and my attention taken off of them and put on the whole, especially a whole which needs my attention, needs all our attention. Maybe it’s my growth of knowing this is all so much bigger than me. Or maybe it’s all of this – the influences of two of the most influential people in my and me pulling my strength from them and all they taught. But today, tomorrow, hopefully more days, grief cannot bring me down for I need to be part of what the whole is going through right now. I need to do my part.

And, I know my grief will come back. Perhaps it’ll come back in an hour; perhaps it’ll poke at me during my sleeplessness; or perhaps it’ll come back when all of this is done and I dust it from the shelf.  For now, at this minute, while I type, I’m trying to allow what is happening now, in OUR world, to step in front of MY world and show me, it’s not about me right now. Peter would have encouraged it. My Mom would whispered, ‘that’s my girl’.