I recently came across and read an NPR article addressing the acceptability of grieving from the pandemic. The article was written last year, on March 26th, so for many people like myself, very early in the pandemic.
The article goes on to say that it is OKAY to grieve the loss of the lives we thought we were to have, even if it seems superficial. For myself, I felt as though I did not get the experience of graduate school that I was really hoping for, especially without the social aspect I was expecting. I was really looking forward to cool experiences and heard so much from prior students. Recognizing loss allows the process of grieving to occur, even at a community-wide level. I recommend reading the article if you have time. That being said, as one year since the beginning of many lockdowns in the United States approaches, this article had me thinking about why even now, one year later, it is perfectly okay to still grieve the things we have lost through this.
Collectively, it is acceptable to know and understand that we are still not in a state of being that anyone could have prepared us for. Time passing in the pandemic does not always solve this type of grief of loss either, because as time continues to pass, there may continue to be things that we are still losing, such as life milestones. Additionally, as 2021 continues to play out, other concerning world events continue to arise, creating what may be a lot of emotional and mental exhaustion at this point.
The article suggests to continue to connect with others, meditate, be open to joy, and express yourself. I truly believe these reminders are true today, too. It is tough (and you may be sick of your computer as I am for Zoom calls and Facetimes), but continue to connect with others in the ways you feel are best. Find time away from technology expressing yourself, and yes, be open to joy still. Things feel bleak at times, even for myself, but finding joy through daily gratitude helps remind me each day to be present.
How have you been feeling as the one year milestone of the pandemic in America approaches? Do you feel similar to how you did a year ago? What has changed for you, mentally?