Tonight is my last ever night in my bedroom. Tomorrow, my flatmate arrives and I move across the hall.
This might not seem like much of a change, but I’ve been in this room for a transformative four years. My family moved me into this room, my ex-girlfriend moved out of this room, I started to build a new life in this room. I’ve decorated it, slept in it, eaten some exceptionally good breakfasts in it. Now I am moving about three meters away, and somehow it’s a big deal.
Grief in a pandemic
I never thought I’d be writing about grief in a pandemic, but here we are. Grief has become part of the everyday as we say goodbye to our lives as we know them for now: to the places we enjoy visiting, the friends and family we love to see, to fancy meals out. We’re also grieving for the things that might not be as we imagined: holidays, birthdays, weddings. It’s a time where we are seeing our lives become something entirely unexpected – something that wasn’t on the roadmap.
I remember after my Mum was diagnosed with cancer and moved into a hospice, my life underwent a similar upheaval. My priorities were looking after Mum, which meant that I had to consider the easiest way to visit the hospice regularly and to work remotely. The rule we had was, ‘what Mum says, goes’ – which meant she ate a lot of fish fingers and watched Judge Judy on repeat. Now i’m looking to establish a new rule for isolation – one that encapsulates self care, consideration of others and most importantly keeps me at home.
It was strange after Mum passed away, returning to familiarity and finding that although my life looked the same on the outside, it had changed significantly. There was rebuilding to do. Some of the blocks went together just right, and some took time to shape and to mould into something I hadn’t expected.
In the face of Corona, I am grieving. My immediate grief looks like this: mood swings, I’m exhausted, I’m frantically searching for something, anything to do. I’m buying a lot of books that I can’t even read. I try to write and it’s impossible to form words. I want to be useful and I want to start moving forward, but I’m trapped in a whole heap of emotions. This week I’ve cried a lot, I’ve danced a lot, I’ve half-done jobs and not finished them properly. It has been wild.
Many of us have grieved before. We’ve lost people, places, things. Now, like then, we are capable of rising and creating a life that’s beautiful, impactful and meaningful.
I know that my grief will change, and I will return to a new normal and begin to rebuild. Hopefully as part of an exceptional community that has rallied through difficult times. Hopefully, as before, there will be beautiful things to come.
Strangely, it’s moving bedrooms that has left me here, feeling vulnerable when there’s so much more going on in the world around me. But that’s what makes me human. And I look forward to seeing the path that awaits me in the bedroom across the hall.
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