Fostering Emotional Healing in an Uncertain Time...
Last December, I got the opportunity to really focus on building memories with family, friends, and colleagues as we embraced our mutual connection and an overriding sense of community celebrating the holiday season. That said, I wanted all of you to understand the importance of maintaining that connection both mentally and emotionally as we start to truly comprehend the rapid evolution in our societal norms that have been impacted by the absolute need to interact while social distancing.
The reality is such that as we fight for our sense of normalcy, or what the new normal will be, we will have to be mindful that our fight will also have to be for those who have lost a friend or loved one as a result of the virus’ onslaught. It is probably too simplistic to say that death is just a part of the cycle of life; what we are facing is not a part of the normal cycle. The losses that have been inflicted on people around the world have been like no other phenomenon, save armed conflict. The loss of life and the cataclysmic shift in circumstances was sudden. The reality here is that we will be confronted with the prospect of having to deal with the aftermath of this type of traumatic loss across thousands of people, diverse cultures and international borders.
However, like the cycle of life, we must be prepared to help those among us that will be wounded by the ultimate loss from this pandemic. They will grapple with the grief and the guilt that came from the revelation that loved ones died alone, and they were powerless to make any type of difference. In those moments, as fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, cousins, grandparents, caregivers, friends, and colleagues we must remember that our role is not to fill a gap but to provide a safe place and provide comfort. I wanted to take this opportunity to suggest just a few things as we all move forward with a desire to do as much as we can for as many as we can.
- Keep communicating, it may yield nothing, but, keeping lines of communication open does allow for dialogue for whenever they are ready to talk.
- At home or at work, be vigilant and ensure that folks are looking after themselves. Overcoming loss, sudden loss, is extremely traumatic and does have the capacity to impose Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) like symptoms on the people left behind.
- Seek out specialized assistance if the circumstances evolve beyond your ability to provide support. The goal is always to get people the help and support they need.
- Be available and present! Allow your friends or family the time necessary to understand and accept their loss. Recovery truly starts after acceptance. Help to create that safe place, because allowing someone to cry out or allowing them to be vulnerable is all they need to help the process along.
It may seem like much or maybe not enough, but sometimes all we need to do is be there and emotionally aware and available. Hence, creating an environment powered by love and acceptance is a major start to our road to recovery. Stay safe and aware.