A real struggle of isolation lockdown 2020...
Updated: Apr 6, 2020
So we are flat out sending each other funny memes in messenger to try and brighten the day, we are doing more facetime than ever before, our drinks intake has tripled and perhaps we have gone exercise mad... I have done all of the above things! We are stuck in iso and have been forced to a standstill, an emergency stop and its driving some of us crazy.
We complain that we can't go out for coffee or down to the pub on a Friday night or that our grocery delivery is still 10 days away... but what about those who are really struggling in isolation? Those who have real worries to contend with and who are really alone?
If the biggest thing you have to worry about right now is that you are simply bored then you should feel lucky and blessed that you don't have bigger things to worry about.
What I am talking about here is the loss of someone you love.
Usually, when we lose someone we have a process that we follow, something we have been doing for hundreds of years... but what happens when you lose someone during iso?
It changes everything... families cannot come together to mourn, hug, scream and cry together. This takes social distancing to a whole new level.
Imagine not being able to embrace your mum, dad, brother, sister, a partner in this time - maybe being able to see them from a distance or over a computer screen but not actually being in their physical presence. They cannot plan a funeral or a celebration of their loved one's life, they cannot prepare their final words of farewell and they cannot have the people they love arriving on their doorstep with food and practical things we do to help in this time.
So if we cannot bring wood in for them, mow their lawns, cook for them, clean their house, take them walking, tend to their children... what can we do? In times like this, we like to do things that can help the person in a practical way - filling their freezer with frozen pre-made meals being one fantastic help at this time. Not during lockdown 2020 we can't though.
To be honest, I don't remember a lot from the beginning of my grief journey but from what I am told is that people just came and did, they didn't ask or wait for me to ask, they just did and I have no idea what it would be like to be going through the loss of someone during this time but I wonder what we can do for those who are.
Donating to 'Give a Little' page is a great start as it gives the family financial means to buy some food. I also feel like simply going online and sending them some groceries with easy to prepare meals in them could be a great help. Sending them regular messages of your love and thoughts with no pressure for that person to reply. It is however nice for them to know they are being thought of at this time. They will reply when they are able to. Don't take offence if they don't at all though - it's just too hard to find any words sometimes.
If you are talking to the people affected greatly by someone's loss please never start your sentence with ... 'at least'... there is no at least about it. They are in a living hell currently and telling them 'at least you are still young or something similar' is not helpful - at all.
Please also do not tell the person that you know how they feel because your dog once died. This is not the same thing! Although terribly sad to lose a much-loved pet, it is not the same.
Everyone's grief is different and how people manage their grief is their choice and way of coping so don't tell them how or what to do in this time, just simply offer a non-judgemental listening ear to talk to and never make it about you. Don't start to tell them stories of this time when you knew of someone who died in a similar manner etc... they will possibly want to punch you in the face. I am unsure why people do this... share stories of other tragic deaths to your face when you only lost a person a little while ago. Not helpful at all.
This one is a hard one because its something we naturally want to say but telling someone to 'let me know if I can do anything or ring me if you need me' will simply fall on deaf ears. They literally don't know which way is up or down having never experienced the trainwreck that they are currently living and so have absolutely no bloody idea on how to educate you on how to help them. Chances are they are on prescription meds and have not eaten for over a week, that, combined with intense raw grief doesn't make for someone who can tell you what they need.
I know this may sound like I am being potentially harsh but I am passionate about ensuring that we get better at dealing with someone who is trying to handle intense loss. No, they cannot just get over it. No, they will not just move on. No, they can't just start eating and functioning normally. No, they aren't aware of what is going on around them let alone what day it is.
Yes, they might need to break their day down into one minute at a time. Yes, they are merely just surviving, just. Yes, they are in need of your support and love. Yes, they are going to need you now and for years to come as their grief changes over time. Yes, they need you to stick around for the long haul and yes, that will be forever.
So, when you think how hard it is today to be locked in your house and all you are worried about is whether to watch Netflix or do your workout first... think about how lucky you are today. Today you are lucky, lucky that you have your health, lucky you got to speak to your mum or loved one this morning on facetime. Find something in your day to be grateful about, do not take the people who you care about for granted as tomorrow is a new day and life as we know is precious and not guaranteed.
Tell these people today you love them, tell them you care and tell yourself what you are truly grateful. Light a candle and send courage to all of those who are dealing with the loss of someone in this hard and enduring time. Reach out to them, send them a message, ring them and show them your love and support. If you don't know what to say, simply tell them that you don't. You may not always have the right words as it is extremely hard to know what to say in such a raw time. You also don't know how that person is processing it so don't be too hard on yourself either. Send them your courage from the heart and they will feel supported.
So love today, tomorrow and for all the days after that and treat today like it could be your last and find the things you are grateful for and if it is a person... tell them. Like a waterfall, the water passes us by and can go unnoticed unless we stop to admire the beauty of how it has been formed over years of flowing. Life too can pass us by without us seeing the beauty of it. Sit back, take life in and recognise the beauty in your own life, now, today and for the days to come.
Sending you all courage and love at this time.