Anniversaries of traumatic events and losses can be a lot to take in and process. There’s no right or wrong way to feel. Here is my personal grief response to this past year, since the reality of the global pandemic hit home.
I had an appointment at All Saints one year ago today. I walked around hugging my former coworkers and we all talked about how tired they were of hearing about the coronavirus. Some also thought COVID-19 was the horrible virus so many had over the fall and winter of 2019, and that it had passed. At that point, there wasn’t a huge concern. I walked into the hospital that morning with no concern.
Like most of my appointments at All Saints, I was there hours after the appointment talking to my former coworkers. Right before I left, the energy of the campus seemed to change, as the public learned there was someone in Kenosha being quarantined. One friend then told me the St. Patrick’s Day Parade downtown was probably going to be canceled. Things really went from no concern, almost being annoyed at hearing about it, to shit, this could be awful in the matter of a few minutes.
The next day, I closed my practice down and began reinventing my services. Virtual sessions, volunteer work, continuing education, and becoming a Certified Grief Support Specialist has made up most of my past year. Using my education and deeply personal experiences really served their purpose this year. I did a lot of donating of my time, energy, and skills. I really utilized my self care, boundaries, and well, said no a LOT. Missing funerals of loved ones because I and my husband took the pandemic very seriously was the most difficult. Every other gathering was absolutely not necessary and it was easy to say no to those. People got pissed, but most of those people who got pissed never took the pandemic seriously to begin with. Simply put, they couldn’t face themselves, or reality. I continued on my course and tried my best every day. Some days I sobbed all day. Many days I physically hurt and wondered if I had COVID, yet I knew it was all my emotions surfacing and well, autoimmune issues. I’ve gotten to know all of that very well in myself.
What a year it’s been. I’d say it showcased many folks’ ability to adapt to changes and new information. I’d also say it revealed each individual’s true character. Our true, raw, real self. It showed us who cares and doesn’t care about humanity and the legacy we’ll leave on this planet.
I believe this was and still is the highly sensitive trauma survivors’ time to shine. There’s an oxymoron for ya. We don’t normally feel very shiny. We have a history of never believing we’re good enough, thinking we’re out of place, aliens even. Our caring capacity was so high this year, it almost drained us completely. I know for myself this was perhaps one of my most exhausting, yet best years of life on this planet. I enjoy my solitude, and I definitely got that this year. I think those of us who’ve experienced great losses, grief, and pain before 2020 were better prepared for this. That is, IF we had done some work around our own traumas before the pandemic hit. Now when I say, work, that doesn’t mean we know it all or have anything truly figured out. It simply means we had faced the reality of our personal pain before the pandemic hit. We suffered greatly before 2020, so we understood misery, basically. Those who had not faced the reality of their pain had a far more difficult time facing reality than those who had acknowledged their pain pre-pandemic. That’s really what this pandemic showed us. Those who will face reality and those who will not. Those who will acknowledge the pain of another person, and those who will not. Those willing to change their lives to help another, and those who will not do that, they flat out refuse.
It’s no secret many got manipulated by false information. Bizarre conspiracies and hate speech. The complete denial of reality is the gateway into hate and delusion. It may stem from a lack of education, but mostly a lack of personal accountability for one’s actions and the complete denial of pain. As a Reiki practitioner who works in the field of energy and spirituality, I can tell you I don’t trust, or respect many in my field. This year made me more vocal about that. Many are cons, making gross amounts of money off of others’ pain. Then you have the world of toxic positivity and spiritual bypassing. I could write for years on how much damage these people are doing. They disgust me, actually. They are white supremacists dressed up in fake holy cloth and it’s fueling the fires of racism, bigotry, and hate. “Don’t live in fear” or “racism is a delusion” or “don’t judge” are their main talking points and themes. They totally bypass any feelings of discomfort or accountability. They are the most delusional and overtly racist people on the planet. They are upholding white supremacy and doing absolutely nothing good for humanity. They are contributing to hate crimes and the spread of a deadly virus. They are individuals who only care about themselves, everyone else can just die in their minds. Most will never admit it, either. They’re too manipulated and unable to face the reality that they are in fact very lost and afraid. They’re not grounded in reality at all.
They’re not just fake ‘spiritualists’ they’re your friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors, too. That’s what been so overwhelming to see this past year. A lot of closeted racists, bigots, and well to be blunt, stupid people showed themselves.
So many think they can have opinions on things they know nothing about. They also think their religion or spiritual beliefs should over-power basic human rights.
It’s beyond disgraceful how many have behaved.
Damages done that will take generations to recover from.
The harsh reality is that we have not come very far in creating an equitable society. The United States is not a safe place for many people and that has never and will never sit right in my soul. It shouldn’t sit right in any decent human’s soul.
The silver lining in this shit show of chaos is that I do believe many of us want real change. Many are willing to help. Many are willing to learn, change, and adapt to help humanity as a whole.
For myself, personally 2020 gave me a backbone. I realized not every perspective is valid in every conversation. I used to think it was, and I allowed a lot of abuse in my past in regards to my mental and emotional health, because of thinking I had to, “respect their opinion.” The harsh reality is that other people hurt me and I don’t have to pretend they didn’t. I don’t have to be nice to them either. I also don’t have to force myself to interact with them to “keep the peace.” Fuck that and fuck them. I said what I said. This is my blog and space to express that, if anyone has a problem with that they can fuck off and write their own damn blog. Maybe it would help them begin to process some of their fuckery. Bullies don’t do that, though. They troll everyone else and refuse to do any emotional work on themselves. So they can simply fuck off. You’ll never see narcissistic people in therapy of any form.
This past year I came to the realization I’m not one of these fake ass people. I get mad and angry. I don’t appreciate the tone policing going on in society. I and no one has to be nice and polite to bullies and oppressors. I don’t have to value perspectives of conspiracy theorists or bigots. Fuck no. That shit mentality does not get a valid perspective in any conversation. It kills people and the only way to not give it power is to not give it a voice.
I’ve known for a long time that we can’t change others, they have to want to change. But dammit no one should have to tolerate abuse of any form.
Not everyone can avoid the hate and abuse, which is why it is so critical for those who have the privilege of having energy to battle it, to fight against it.
This first year of COVID has revealed so much. It is each of our responsibilities to do our part, and to rest when we are able. I know many of us haven’t slept well in over a year. Finding joy has been difficult. I know what years of no feeling is like, it’s hell because you don’t feel you exist. I’m so grateful to have been all up in my feelings this year. I know how healthy having feelings and emotions are when you’re grounded in them. I did a lot of rage writing this year. I realized I have a profound love of satire. Humor and a sharp tongue can be powerful in fighting injustices. I’m realizing my voice and constant strive to speak both my truth and the truth of others is perhaps my greatest weapon. I used to care so damn much about being liked. Now I care far more about the truth and actually living for that. The truth will set us free, as difficult as it may be to face it.
What a year it has been. Be gentle with yourself as you process is my best advice for myself and others. Grief is not linear and it is more of a process that doesn’t make a lot of sense most of the time.
I’ll express one more thing,
I miss my mom.
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I wish I would have found this earlier!!! Kara, you are an amazing person! Thank you for sharing an honest post about who you are, and how you truly feel. I believe you and I have a lot in common. My life has been a crazy roller coaster of a mess in every which way. The pandemic was a hard hit, my kids being scared to death of everything, seeing the people who took this pandemic seriously, those who didn’t, the narcissistic people I trusted, and to top it off losing my dad with no warning to brain cancer last year. I’m a caregiver who naturally took care of him with my mom all the way through at home until the last breath. A year later our grief is still incredibly difficult to handle. I’m struggling to just wake up sometimes. My mental, physical, and spiritual health have been truly compromised.
I’ll express one more thing,
I miss my dad