The Difficult Reality
The Aftermath of Unexpected Tragedies
We all go through them in life. Some are more difficult and harder to digest then others. Some hit us when we least expect, and throw us off course in a way we never could have prepared ourselves for. Along with tragedy, we can experience a heavy weighing down grief. Usually grief is that heavy feeling of sadness we get when we loose something unexpectedly. We want to wish it away or stand by the place in our mind that, “maybe it never happened”.
During the pandemic, I think a lot of people experienced grief in life changing ways. Whether it was loosing someone we love to covid-19, or someone we worked with possibly. Perhaps it was a loss of a job even that we thought we would continue on with for longer than we did. That feeling of loss and having to let go into a new reality is a pill that can be hard to swallow. I think it was during these last few years that a lot of us got caught up so much in the “what if’s” we missed the what were’s, or could have been’s. Hear me out for a moment. It was during that time when we turned on the television and got afraid to leave our houses for fear of the unknowns of the effects of Covid-19. We heard about stories on the world news of the crisis, the countries hit the hardest, the reality of what was really happening. We knew we too could be the next. So what is it that we were so afraid of during this time? Was it the fear of getting so sick we would be hospitalized? Was it the fear of death? Was it the fear of contemplating going to a job where we would possibly put ourselves and those around us at risk? I think it was a lot of those things. In fact, many of those fears were so very real to so many of us for far too long. We were afraid for ourselves, our families, our parents, grandparents and our children. The uncertainty surrounding a “pandemic” sure is a life altering one. I think what I have really learned in this last year is not just that a “pandemic” can change our future outcomes, but that it can change our present moments so much that we miss it. I know I saw time go faster yet somehow it stood still those days where we didn’t leave our house. My mind shifted to that “ fight or flight” place more often that I would like to admit. I was thankful for a therapist which I was already seeing for anxiety, among other reasons. It helps so much to have someone you can talk to through a time like this. Someone outside of your circle of comfort.
Our family had an unexpected tragedy occur, but it was not directly “covid-19” or pandemic related. What struck me the most was the fact that it happened so fast in the blink of an eye. I was really not ready for it. No one in my family was and we are still really in a state of grief if I can add that on. When a child passes away, it is an agonizing grief that is unlike any other I have felt. It was not my child, but my sisters. I can’t begin to walk a day in her shoes knowing something like this has happened. Most days I don’t want to face the reality that this really did happen. That we live in such a world where such terrible things can really happen to people we love. It was hard for me to accept any kind of reality like this. It is a painful feeling that weighs down your heart, your mind and you can’t get a grip on any of it. It never makes sense no matter how many times you try to reason with yourself. You ask yourself to just try to go back in time to go to the days before it happened. Then you realize the days are moving forward, and they can’t go backwards now. You shift and try to blame yourself, but then you realize you can’t do that. It rattles you, it shakes you, it pushes you off the tracks like a train which can’t slow down. You remind yourself to breathe. Just to breathe. Then you look at your blessings and count them. Count them every day. To remember to just be. To just make it one moment at a time, one breath at a time. You tell yourself all the positive affirmations you can think of. You pray and pray. You ask why, but you don’t ever have a solid answer. Then you realize that you never will have that solid answer. Sometimes these tragedies are so unexpected that you can’t ever explain them- a death, a loss, a new beginning of some sort. Then, you try to get to the point of growth. To remember the beautiful memories that this beautiful soul shined down on the world around them. The smiles, the joy and the blessing they were while we were able to spend time together. You take what you learned from them and you apply it. My nephew Henry was a brilliant artist. He had a way of expressing himself with colors on a page that spoke a language that was really beautiful. He was the “rainbow” we prayed for when my sister had trouble conceiving. He did shine so bright, so many colors and left impressions on our hearts and souls we will always carry with us. He taught us more patience, acceptance, and love than we ever knew. He was that ray of hope that was prayed for. He was not verbal much, but his eyes always could tell you so many stories. His imagination was active and full of life. Thank you sweet boy for teaching us how to appreciate the colors of this “rainbow of life”, and to remember to breathe, just breathe every single day. To stop and see the beauty around us, and to appreciate it. We always will love you and we will never forget you. Love always, Your Aunt Megan