I think we can ALL agree that 2020 has been trash! For some, more trash than others. We have all witnessed and been a part of really trying times. I could bet that a number of you reading this have had to deal with some form of loss this year due to everything going on right now. With life comes grief, but good grief this year has brought more for me than I could have EVER imagined!
One of the losses that come to mind for me that I had to grieve for a short period of time was the control over my life. When the pandemic hit and the whole world literally shut down, and I had to take some time to grieve that loss. The things I did on a regular basis had been taken away from me. The routine I was use to was no longer necessary. I felt like my life was no longer my own. The hobbies I enjoyed were no longer available. The events I had planned had been cancelled. The places I enjoyed going to were closed. Traveling was out of the question. Something as simple as going to my workplace had even been stripped away, and I NEVER thought that was considered a luxury. I had to grieve ALL those things.
Some of us had to grieve the loss of family members, friends, jobs, businesses, relationships, housing, transportation, etc. Some of us had to grieve the loss of control, stability, status, routine, and familiarity. Some loss the feeling of being connected to others. We could no longer visit our sick or elder family member who lived in a facility or hospital. Some had to grieve that their first birthing experience wouldn’t be the way they had always dreamed it would be because hospital procedures changed due to COVID-19. Weddings changed, funerals changed, work changed, schools changed, even something as simple as going grocery shopping changed. The whole world changed!
Adults weren’t the only ones grieving either. These babies were grieving too. Abruptly, they were taken out of school. Forced to do schoolwork at home. They couldn’t see their friends. They couldn’t see their teachers. They couldn’t go to their friend’s houses. They had to adjust to their “New” teachers who didn’t teach the way Mrs. SO and SO did. They had to adjust to seeing Mommy and Daddy work from home and telling them to keep the noise levels down while a conference call was in session. (I know I wasn’t the only one with this issue,?) The kids had to adjust to not being able to go to their favorite museums, amusement parks, trampoline parks, and other places of enjoyment because they simply couldn’t. The world was shut down due to “the stupid virus” as my son calls it when he is grieving the inability to do something he enjoys. Some had to adjust to not seeing their grandparents because MiMa or PawPaw have health conditions that COVID-19 could affect tremendously, and you just can’t take risks like that! These babies had to grieve too!
This year has been one big loss for many of us! We had to grieve the loss of several black men and women and watch it happen right in front of our eyes. I will be honest, I never watched any of the videos because my heart just couldn’t take it. My imagination has enough power and just seeing it would make me grieve in a very different way and I mourned enough without seeing them. Some very prominent losses this year were Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd. Daniel Prude. These aren’t the only deaths and aren’t in any means a way to lessen the deaths of others. These were prominent ones that caused some outrage in this country in 2020. Hurtful ones. These deaths caused a whole nation to grieve. Publicly grieve. Grieve with outrage. Grieve with purpose. Grieve together.
This year forced this country to admit some ugly truths about the past and present state as it relates to race relations, police brutality, and systematic racism. People have had to have some very hurtful conversations with their brown peers who they would have never in a million years known the horrors they had lived through. I received a lot of apologies from people who don’t look like me for the behaviors of the people who look like them. I’m not sure about the company that you all work for, but the company I work for allowed myself and other black people to have intimate and very truthful conversations with one another. Then allowed us to have the conversation company wide. We grieved hearing the stories of the men and women that looked like me. Grieved that there were so many stories that sounded the same. And even though these conversations were difficult to have, I found them to be mystically enriching.
Enough with the grieving, right?! Eventually, I had to sit down and recollect all the things that turned out to be beautiful. Even through all the control I felt like I lost, I gained so much more. The things forced upon me, turned out to be in my favor. At least that’s how I see it now. But from all of this, there has been some beautiful outcomes.
Being forced to become my son’s teacher at home, I was able to build a better connection with him. Prior to being his home teacher, I was easily frustrated with his behavior. I found myself yelling at him just for being who he was. I didn’t understand him or his logic. His teacher would often tell me he was hard to manage and I understood because he was hard to parent at times. But becoming his teacher at home, I was able to understand him. I began to pick up on his patterns. Understood what triggered certain behavior. Noticed what he was lacking from me and began to pour into him the way he needed it. We grew closer. I understand his humor better now. I understand his behavior now. We laugh together more often now….a lot! Beauty.
I discovered some things about myself through this mess as well. I handle pressure very well. Being candid about hurtful situations isn’t as scary as they once seemed. I’m sensitive as hell?♀️! I really feel things rather they are directly or indirectly impacting me. The list goes on. I often thought about those who may not be mentally stable enough to handle all the stress from this year. I prayed for them more than for myself. And because I’m empathetic, I cried for them too. Prayed that they could find comfort. Prayed that they could find shelter in this storm. Prayed that they could find strength. Prayed that they made it through. Beauty.
Prior to the world shutting down, I had fitness goals that I was determined to accomplish. When the gyms closed I still had goals that I was sticking to. Sticking to them allowed me to feel a sense of control over something when everything around me seemed out of my control. I began to get questions about what I was doing to lose and maintain the weight. People began to reach out to me for advice around diet and exercise. They were asking me to start working out with them. They were asking me to provide meal suggestions and give them a run down on what I ate. I was extremely hesitant to do any of it due to my own reservations. Ultimately, these inquiries led to me becoming a certified personal trainer and starting my own business. Beauty.
My prayer for anyone reading this, is that you can find the beauty in the grief. I don’t share the beauty I found in my storm to boast. I share them so that you can find relatable beauty in your storm as well. We have all lost some things this year. No one has been exempt, which in my eyes is another beautiful thing. We can all relate to the tragedies of this year. I pray that we can all find the beauty somewhere in this chaos. I encourage you all to take time to find beauty in the small things. We have a few more months left, and I can’t imagine it getting any worse *knocks on wood?* but let’s brace ourselves, just in case, and keep our eyes out for the beautiful masterpiece at the end. Because this all will pass.?