Ah, yes. We have nothing to fear but fear itself…and trillions of germs everywhere. Are you spraying people with Lysol as they pass your desk? Let’s hope that germs, unlike everyone else, won’t find you irresistible.
Here we are, still playing the waiting game. No rule book. No time frame. How are you? What you feel right now is as individual as your fingerprint. We may not have a body lying before us; but trust me, sweet friends, we are truly grieving. We are grieving the loss of our former life, the lack of connection, and even the loss of cherished loved ones. You feel like you’re in one big “isolationship.”
We all suffered losses. Perhaps you lost your job, a huge part of your support system, or your social life. Which loss is the worst? Yours. Want to be there for someone you care about at this time? Remind her that, no, you cannot stop the downpour, but you will walk with her through the rain. Remind him of good times or send him something to make him laugh. Don’t let the deadly pandemic kill your sense of humor, too. Keep smiling, and one day life will get tired of upsetting you.
Perhaps you are a recreation-starved stay-at-homer – only to find out that nearly 70 percent of all new cases came from those who sheltered at home. And just as we look forward to being with our loved ones, the goal posts for opening up the city move yet again. Well-intentioned friends may tire of hearing your pain or frustration after a while. But know this: If you have suffered deeply, it’s not about “getting over it” – it’s about learning to live with it.
You just wiped down that container of Lysol wipes with a Lysol wipe. Sheesh. You may not be handling everything with wisdom and grace at this time. Our challenges are complicated and may be provoking a tangle of emotions. The world may seem like an awfully lonely place right now. You might think you are suffering the same losses as your friend; but that does not mean you are experiencing it in the same way. Please remember we all forge different relationships with our families and friends.
Please don’t ask people “How are you” without even waiting for their response. This may very well be the most mentally draining thing we have all been through at the same time. As tempting as it is to sit around and lick your own wounds, make a point to reach out and check in with your family, friends, and even neighbors, please. Use time-based language as much as possible: “This is how things are at the moment.” Always remind friends that the future will be brighter.
I know. You just Clorox-wiped a bottle of Purell, and Purelled your hands because you touched the Clorox container. Sounds like me. Sheesh. Leaving your house makes you feel like you’re making a supply run for an episode of Zombie Apocalypse. So try not to downplay or dismiss other people’s concerns or worries. Instead, validate each other’s feelings. “It’s understandable that you feel that way.” “It makes perfect sense that you are so upset about this.”
Please try to stay hopeful, sweet friends. You know what they say: Pessimists see the mug half empty; optimists are already brewing another cup. Meanwhile, my hand sanitizer is helping me discover new cuts I never knew I had. Speaking of which, did you know that the main ingredient in hand sanitizer is paranoia?
Quite frankly, you’ll never look at a doorknob the same way. Did you ever once ponder how many germs live on it? But seriously, please be kind to yourself. Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean: “Me first”; it means “Me too.” Feelings of helplessness have a ripple effect. No, this is not the “new normal,” as some profess. It is actually quite abnormal not to hug loved ones, not to spend holidays with family, and not to pray with beloved congregants. An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is actually normal behavior.
So please remind those you care for – as they go through this difficult time – that they are loved. We can feel profound sadness and still experience hope. Just view it as holding two things at the same time.
By all means, make sure gratitude is in your vocabulary. It was once said: “If I were to say ‘G-d, why me?’ about the bad things, then I should have said ‘G-d, why me?’ about the good things that happened in my life.” Don’t only pray when it rains. Pray when the sun shines, too. And it will come out tomorrow, sweet friends.
Please feel free to reach out. Call anytime. I am right here.
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