What have you lost to COVID-19? This week, I have spent hours and hours helping people process their grief. Some have lost family members. Some, their health. Some have lost income and work. Some, graduation. Some have lost birthday gatherings. Some, weddings. Some, studies abroad. The grieving is real.

I hear a lot of folks stiff-upper-lipping it. “That’s just the way it is.” “I just have to accept it.” “Nothing I can do about it.”

None of these statements are wrong, and it may be helpful to bear those realities in mind. However, it doesn’t mean we can’t feel sadness and anger at what’s been lost. Grief demands your attention. If it’s ignored, it will make a mess. It will leak out in the guises of irritability, depression, lack of motivation, substance abuse, criticisms…

Also – being the conscientious cadre we are, we’re keenly aware of the suffering of people everywhere, and I’ve heard many folks fall into comparative suffering. “Other people have it so much worse, I shouldn’t complain.” “I feel guilty for being sad over this when others have lost so much more.”

Comparative suffering is a recipe for invalidating our own lived experiences. You’re allowed to be sad and angry about what you’ve lost AND you’re allowed to feel empathy for all the loss going on across the globe. Shutting down your own grief will not make anything better.

Let’s acknowledge that this global pandemic is responsible for losses of all kinds and that each person is bearing their own grief. Let’s hang together in our common experience and support each other through open expression and acceptance.

What have you lost? How are you grieving?