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It's dark and rainy in my part of the world

  • by Lisa Hartley


    January feels like the longest month of the year.  Certainly, it's the saddest. 


    Holidays are done. Resolutions are broken. Festival lights are stored for another year. It's dark and rainy in my part of the world. 


    My bills are due. Covid rates are rising. The loss of loved ones, leaves us unprepared to face the world alone.


    We still can't visit with our friends. Grief, loss, and loneliness press in. We feel  alone with our grief. How do we survive the deep loss of our lives as we knew them?


    How do we individually deal with our grief, in a time when nothing feels easy or normal.  A time when we need a strategy just to go to the supermarket. A plan to connect with our friends. 


    I walk, endlessly.  Being outside in the drizzle, is better than hiding inside. It takes me out of the spinning of my thoughts. During a rare sunny day, the streets are full of my neighbours in masks. They’re talking on the street corner and sharing their lives. I see others who are running, walking, talking in the dog park. It's as if we've moved our living rooms outside. 


    Last night, I screen shared my movie with my sister whom I haven't seen since last February. Just that small connection, hearing her laugh and sharing comments on the show, took away my loneliness and let me go to bed with a smile in my heart. 


    I sit outside with friends, six feet apart, masked and lots of airflow.

    I check in on my adult daughters. I call my friends, endlessly. I talk to my dog... yup, I do.  She's great company!


    I join groups, and I get counselling, a place to talk about my despair. I remember I’m not alone and that this is hard.


    I put on my full-spectrum light, try and keep a routine, put my face to the sun when I can, take Vitamin D, and eat as well as I can. I’m gentle with myself. Things take longer, our sense of self-control is worn, our days altered.


    When my tears won't stop, I call my sister, connect with a friend or I put on full rain gear and run in the downpour. 


    And sometimes, I just stay in bed. 


    The Pandemic pushed us face first into our shadow, our pain, our vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Many of us have lost loved ones. We're struggling to accept things so far beyond our control it’s humbling.  


    Yet, we are human; hard wired to survive, to thrive. Collectively we have deep rivers of resilience and of creativity. And this is our strength. In our isolation, we're coming together and we’re inventing ways of gathering. Somehow, we keep going.


    Perhaps we’ll learn from this crisis.  We'll drop the shell of excess, of denial, of the false "how are you?" And we'll learn to regard one another as part of a worldwide community. 


    Personally, I just look forward to hugging my friends... to talking without a mask, and to the sun returning to our beautiful world. 




    About the author: Lisa Hartley is a GatheringUs Planner and Facilitator. She lives in Vancouver, Canada with her dog Honey and enjoys hiking in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Through GatheringUs, and her work as a Life-Cycle Celebrant, Lisa helps friends and family gather after the loss of a loved one to support each other and celebrate life together.


    Our mission at GatheringUs is bring together family and friends to support each other and celebrate the life of their loved ones. To learn more about our virtual funerals and memorial ceremonies, schedule a free 30-minute consultation with our team. We can help with planning, facilitation, tech support, audiovisuals and design, and work with you to create a meaningful and personal event. We free you up, so you can be fully present with your community. 


    Find more articles on working through grief here.

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