This isn’t the post I thought I’d be sharing today. Nor is it one I ever thought I’d be brave enough to share. But with the world the way it is, I felt that it was important to talk about. Even if that’s just for my own benefit of getting these thoughts off my chest. (Although there is a chance that this might resonate with you and if so, I’m deeply sorry that you’re going through this too.)
On November 10th 2020, my family lost my beloved grandfather to COVID-19. 531 other lives were lost to COVID in the UK that day. 6577 lives lost to COVID around the world. For most people, those numbers will just be that – numbers, statistics. But for families like mine, those numbers are a reminder of what we have lost and what we lost it to.
Grieving has been a struggle. I have good days and bad days as can be expected. But what I wasn’t prepared for was how different this grief would be compared to others I’d experienced.
How on earth do you heal from a loss like this? When the virus that took someone you loved is still taking the lives of so many?
I avoid the news as much as I can but those daily death tolls still find their way to me. When I log into social media, I’m met with “my [family member] is in hospital with COVID, please pray for them.” Or worse, the announcements of deaths. So I’ve been spending less and less time online because every time I see one of those, it rips the scab off the wound. I can be fine for minutes or hours later but eventually I become sullen and then I start to cry. A lot.
This gets magnified ten-fold when the person grieving is someone I care about. And these cases have been happening more frequently. Ever since my grandad passed, someone in my immediate network has lost a family member of their own every other week. That’s a lot of pain. A lot of grief.
I can’t see myself being able to heal anytime soon. Not while the death tolls are so high. So I spend my time trying to distract myself as much as possible. But of course, it’s always there. And while it’s there I will continue to loop through sadness, fear, anger and frustration.
Sadness for myself, my family and everyone else who has lost someone they loved. Because for us, there is no going back to normal. Normal was shattered the second the ones we loved passed away.
Fear of losing more people I care about.
Anger that our governments acted like economists instead of protecting their citizens as a priority. That it was ever allowed to get bad in the first place, let alone again.
Frustration that some people seem to think that none of it matters. The ones who are willing to endanger the lives of others because they’ve been brainwashed by misinformation to believe that the virus is a hoax – nothing more than a conspiracy for governments to control its citizens. And also the ones who argue that lockdowns clearly don’t work when they were breaking the rules before the first lockdown was even over.
It’s a lot to process every single day but I’m working through it. Trying to find the coping strategies that work best for me. Reading obviously helps quite a lot because it gets me out of my head and into someone else’s. (Also the worlds are usually pandemic-free so that’s a plus!)
All I ask from you is to look after yourself and your loved ones. Protect them as much as you can. Wear masks. Stay home. Follow the rules.
And while yes the rates of death and/or serious complications are lower for younger, healthy people. Let me say this: no one is invincible. You can have underlying health conditions and not know about them. (I can’t even tell you how many times I was told my chest pains and breathlessness were nothing before I was finally diagnosed with asthma. It took years to get a diagnosis that took literally 5 minutes.)
Please stay safe out there.