Grief and Hope

This week STUNK! On a national level, the US saw thousands of people die. On a personal level, my wife’s family lost two relatives to COVID. Life changes in an instant, and I hope to have the emotions to meet specific situations. This week I was tested in several ways. The test began one morning, I was excited this week to get one phone call from the California Department of Education they saw one of my teaching videos and wanted to use it to provide guidance to schools for distance learning.

Not more than ten minutes later, we got the call that my wife’s cousin had passed. Just like that, emotions are high, then emotions are low. Her cousin was a very nice man, when we would travel to Chicago he picked us up from the airport a few times, he would always help the elderly taking them on shopping trips, and would drive my mother in law on errands. His father, my wife’s uncle, had passed away two days earlier, Gilbert, my wife’s cousin, didn’t even know that his father had died.

We have a lot of space in our lives. We make a ton of room for joy, creativity, and goal setting. There is a lot of talk about being creative during this time. I am being creative during this time. I make daily YouTube videos on my personal channel. I created a new Youtube channel for teaching videos. I am active with my podcast. Besides, I started learning how to play guitar. For fun, I am playing video games again, I am reading a ton and journaling. Yet in all of this, I have to make space for grief. More so, I have to be prepared for when the pain will strike.

I believe we all do. Are you prepared for grief? How are you thinking about pain? Do you embrace grief? For a guide on how to rewatch the movie Inside Out . We need to acknowledge that sadness is a valuable emotion; without acknowledging it, in your personal life, you will be tempted to turn to unhealthy forms of support, alcohol, drugs, etc. The only way to get through the pain is to walk in it to the other side. If you don’t acknowledge the sadness in others, you are insensitive, and bordering on cruel. When someone is in pain, stop and consider the person in pain, don’t tell them to get happy. It may come from the right place, but trust me, if you have experienced a loss, it doesn’t help. Experiences warrant different emotions. I know when my Father died when I was in High School I thought the appropriate response was to simply get up. act strong and keep moving, it took decades, and counseling before I realized that my grief not expressed led to unhealed wounds, and poor behavioral choices.

Our hearts aren’t studio apartments with room only for joy, creativity, and happiness. Our hearts are large homes with space for all of our emotions. In this time, we are humans living with common problems. Over 7,000 people died in the United States this week. Each one of those people has multiple people who’re hearts are broken. It is ok to have your heart broken too.
In fact, if you want to have hope for the future. Griefing and mourning is the bridge to healing that you have to cross to get to hope in the future. Every culture has a tradition of mourning.
I turn on the news, and I keep hearing stories about the economy opening up. The economy will eventually open up. Stay at home orders are in place until May 1st. We can take time to plan to open the economy, but the present moment does call for us to grief, to mourn, to remember, to celebrate those we have lost. If you are blessed with health, we can take time to comfort others who are in pain. If you are afraid, we all acknowledge it.

Today is Easter. A day of reflection and renewal. In the Chrisitan faith, we believe in a risen savior who conquered death and who brings calm out of the chaos. Perhaps you don’t have a particular faith tradition, in these times, you still can choose to mourn those who have fallen. You should acknowledge your fears and declare your hopes for the future. I have no idea what the future is going to look like. For those of us who are alive, and in good health, we have an obligation to live our best lives, because I have to believe that the 7,000 people who passed this week had hopes and dreams. I think they had planners with events, parties to go to, and people to see. They were loved, cherished, and cared for.  Take time to remember that you have a gift, a gift they currently don’t have. List your blessings daily. Do your best with the time you have, and meet the moments with your dreams, goals, talents, and gifts. We will continue to hurt,If you need to scream, cry, or shake your fists, after that you will begin to heal. No one knows how long it will take. Your healing doesn’t need to be on a timer. We will be wounded and scarred but not broken. Find time to contribute, to help someone in need, give money to a cause or a person, send a card, call a friend. You are the inspiration that someone in your sphere of influence needs, and you also may need to be inspired as well. Both can happen. Each day we are emptied and need to be recharged and renewed. Right now everyone has a megaphone, the media, the online news, the pendants, the political parties. Turn them down, or off for a bit. Then turn to a trusted voice.  The voice inside of you, the best version of you that is coming up out of the pain, sorrow, fear, anger, joy, happiness, and confusion. What is it saying to you?  Where do you want to go? Set your course and go.

Our most excellent days and achievements lie in front of us.


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