The Sixth Stage of Grieving

I recently wrote about how we are each on our own course of personal grieving the loss of the season and celebrations. We’ve all experienced frustration and overwhelm over the past few weeks. In the stillness of the day, we’ve even questioned the meaningfulness of our work.

The sun rises each morning and we wake to an unfamiliar routine. We crave the trappings of success that were obvious in our former life. As the day unfolds we’re asking ourselves why this all happened, what could have been done differently and we project what may unfold in the next few weeks.

We’ve been angry at individuals and groups and institutions. Anger is our most familiar emotion. We’re good at being angry with something or someone who is beyond our capacity to love. Sadly we’re well practiced with being angry. At times we’ve used anger to make some sense of our new circumstance. It connects us from overwhelm to something tangible. It’s an anchor in a deep and dark ocean. Being angry assures us that we have lost something we cared about. We know that in time the vast majority of us will be able to rejoin our regularly scheduled life. In the meantime we wait – sometimes patiently and others times not – for the future to unfold.

And, along comes the sixth stage of grieving. We’re trying to find meaning in these repetitive days.

  • What matters most to me?
  • What can I do today that may have a positive impact on my life, the lives of my family, or the lives of members of my community?
  • How can I be of purpose while the common ways of finding purpose are not accessible?

Take a moment to reflect on what you can do each day to fulfill the ways in which you found purpose before the pandemic and find one new way to fill the new void. One new way, every day. 

Categories: Faculty & Staff Blogs, Other
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