Navigating Ambiguous Loss

The global pandemic has thrust us into a sudden state of shared trauma. The rug feels like it’s been pulled out from under our feet as everything about our world changed in a moment. At first reeling, most of us have settled into a state of being stunned by everything we knew to be our lives turning upside down and now every societal structure seems unstable. With more questions than answers, we see no clear vision of a right-siding and a path forward.

Cycling up and down, most of us at some point of the day or week fight a looming sense of helplessness, trying not to surrender to hopelessness. Without being dependably anchored in our daily routine we are effectively adrift at sea with no land in sight, counting days passed, uncertain of what to expect in the days ahead with more questions than answers.

That is a lot to sit with. It’s extraordinarily difficult to sit with, to be in the midst of. It triggers our primal responses to fight, flee, or freeze. Each of us approaches it differently. Any of us who have experienced profound trauma recognize the urgency to “return to normal”, to do something familiar in a resumption of our daily routine, is fueled by the unconscious attempt to mitigate the sudden destabilization. And in sitting in this moment of quiet, of isolation, of fear and uncertainty, we are also grieving.

Once this is over, and the history of time has proven all things pass, we will undoubtedly need to heal. We may never fully recover from being robbed of our sense of safety. Our trust that we will get through this, in systems we depended on to protect us and our loved ones, both internal and external, will need to be rebuilt as we proceed cautiously. We may never be fully confident it’s over. We may always have in the back of our mind something, anything may take us back here.

But your world and my world and our world will return. Differently, no doubt. We will continue to mourn the losses both of life and what we left behind. Each one of us will recreate our lives and this period of trauma will play a part in it. Still, we will break bread with those we love again, engage in the rituals that replenish us, do things we loved before, again. There will be new opportunities to leave behind outdated thoughts and processes that no longer serve us. We were created to adapt and adapt we will.

“All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”- Julian of Norwich

About Lisette d. Johnson

Murder-Suicide Survivor, Mom, Writer, Speaker, Serial Volunteer in the Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Assault Arena, Entrepreneur, &amp Friend. I survived, my kids survived, and I am here to tell the story.
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