You’re Allowed to Grieve the Year That Would’ve Been
Canceled parties, graduations, weddings, and book releases are realities many are facing. It’s okay to take time to process those losses.
As we look to stop the spread of Covid-19, social distancing remains the best way to flatten the curve. As mayors and governors implement stricter stay-at-home orders, the effect of the coronavirus is totalizing. Most people have focused on the implications of social distancing on business and industry as fears of economic depression loom. Yet equally important is the human cost of this crisis.
Globally, there have been over 600,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and more than 18,000 reported deaths as of March 30. Daily, we wake to reports of more. This difficult reality makes it seemingly impossible for others to vocalize how the global pandemic has affected other aspects of our lives. Many feel that to be upset over canceled special events and postponed business opportunities is a personal luxury we can’t afford when others are dying. But experts say that isn’t necessarily true.
“We need to move away from hierarchies of loss,” says licensed therapist and motivational speaker Thema Bryant-Davis. The myth that we should hold someone else’s suffering as greater than ours prevents us from honoring our own emotions as valid. Bryant-Davis noted the high school seniors who will not have a prom and students across educational levels who will not have the culminating experiences of traditional graduations. She also named those who finally worked through a heartbreak and became hopeful about dating again only to be sidelined by a pandemic. “These are milestones, and the loss of them is real,” she says.
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As many are forced to accept that this is not the year they mapped out on their vision board, wellness expert Devi Brown says it’s okay to grieve that. “None of us have to go directly into resilience,” she says. As Brown’s professional calendar cleared almost immediately due to…