Today I saw an article in my news feed which reported that in the United States about 140,000 kids have lost a parent or “parenting” relative to Covid-19. The quoted psychologist said that this would affect them until “at least until age 18.” As a former Bereavement Counselor and Mom, I think she’s wrong. My son lost his Dad at age 15, and he still feels the loss of him at age 25. Yet at the same time, his life has also moved on. And truly, some day I know it will be part of his inner strength and mettle. For some, life’s challenges come in a series of events, for some it’s a large event, like loosing a parent too soon.
As I’ve been writing my book, I’m realizing how many deeply challenging events I lived through that at the time I thought might break me, but didn’t. Now, very little shakes me, it doesn’t mean I’m not affected, but I know deep within my core, I can survive whatever might occur. And that’s because from the vantage point of now, I can see how every one of those “awful events” have shaped my capacity to live life—no matter what.
After so many challenges, what did I finally learn that became the magic ingredient to transform pain and suffering, into deepening and growth? I stopped resisting what was. I decided to learn how to fully face and feel what was happening in my life. Trust me, I wish this life had been easier, but it simply wasn’t. And so somewhere along the line I decided to say “yes” to it. Honestly part of me just capitulated, but another part realized no amount of resisting was going to change what was already occurring. Life was just moving through and showing up the way it was. I don’t know how long all those kids are going to be actively grieving their parents and family members. I don’t think anyone can. But I do know that to get through it, they’ll need to find a way grieve— in all it’s messiness. And then somewhere, somehow they’ll need to decide to keep on living their life even while feeling the pain of missing someone they wish was still with them. What can we do as fellow humans? Let’s not forget about them or their grieving hearts, even while our own hearts may be aching.