Sadness is part of life. However, there’s a strange reality of life during pandemic is that I have continued to go on without acknowledging all the cumulative losses.
Since March of 2020, I have experienced being laid off, being rehired 3 months later, moving during the pandemic, and loss of physical support systems. Things I have gained are a lot of zoom friends, online support, new passion/hobby, and a dog.
In the beginning, there a lot of anxiety but also the excitement of the unknown. Fast forward almost two years later, two vaccine shots and a booster shot later, I have endured a slow loss of the life I had known before. Many nights are spent at my home with my dog, and I have slowly embraced my solitude. However, some days a deep sadness and loneliness sets in, where I do not know what to do with. I am struggling to breathe and practice with what is. I sometime waiver and want to feel the void with yet another relationship that is wrong for me. How do I commit, communicate, and cultivate loving friendships and relationships? So far I haven’t discovered an answer, I am trying to live into the answer the best I can.
I am grateful to have known you,
even if I had to say goodbye.
I loved our walks,
even when you forgot our conversations.
I am sad, but also filled with gratitude.
light a candle for those who died
remembering each moment
I have no words…I wish I could simply hug you and hold you. But you asked me for words to help you through your grief and loss, so I will try to put into words what has been helpful to me.
I speak to you not as a chaplain, pastor, but simply as a human to a human…heart to heart.
Giref has no rhyme or reason. If someone tells you what stage of grief you should be on politely ask them to go away before you punch them in the face. 🙂 Just kidding.
One of the hardest things for me has been to simply give myself to the process, and not try to control or judge myself as I am going through the grief and loss process. Some days I want to cry, laugh, punch a heavy bag of all of the above. No one knows how to feel except you, so let your own heart be the guide.
Sometimes you’ll feel like God has abandoned you, but God is so close. I’m not sure what it’ll b like for you, but remember you are not alone. Let the people that love you love on you and let them if they need to simply sit and hold your hand.
A lot of people suggested I write to process my grief, but there are days that all I could do was sit, breathe and blankly stare at the wall. Other times I wanted to scream, and once or twice words poured out of me.
I will hold you in the Light as always.
Love and Love,
Your Friend on this Journey
Evagrius Ponticus, an influential desert monastic, writes that we should “seek out places that are free from distraction, and solitary. Do not be afraid of the noises you may hear. Even if you should see some demonic fantasy, do not be terrified or flee frm the training ground so apt for your progress. Endure fearlessly, and you will see the great things of God, His help His care, and all the assurances of salvation” (V1:35, Teachings on Asceticism and Stillness in the Solitary Life).
I am not a monk that lives out in the desert. I live in the 21st century as an urban dad. I work as a chaplain to pay my bills and child support, and spend time with my 2 year old daughter.
However, I do identify with Evagrius’ words. My separation and upcoming divorce in a month has been a wilderness experience of my heart. I struggle to return to the inner cell of my heart to rest in the deep silence of peace and serenity from my Higher Power, or what Quakers call Divine Presence.
I have struggleded not loose myself in fantasy and anxiety of the future or wallow in what could have been different in my past. Grief is hard and “enduring fearlessly” as Evagrius suggests has been diffcult. But I have been doing the best I can to let go and let God, and trusting in a hope I do not understand or believe at some moments. All I can do sometimes is take a tiny step forward, and for now it’s enough.
I am not sure what great things I’ll see, but so far it’s enough to see our daughter happy and growing up in two loving households.