Back To Normal? Not So Fast!

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A glimpse of what it feels to be on the cusp of finishing lockdown by one of our loyal Three Bows customers, Dena Schusterman from Intown, Atlanta. Dena runs the Atlanta Intown Jewish Preschool and is the mom of 8 and proud grandma of 1 adorable grandson.   

We are all grieving. Some of us are grieving loved ones who have died. Some of us are grieving with friends who lost loved ones. Loved ones who died alone in hospitals. Loved ones who are unable to be there for their father or mother’s funeral. Loved ones who are sitting shiva alone. Some of us are grieving life as we knew it. We are grieving stability. We are grieving structure. We are grieving family gatherings. Our children are grieving their activities. Their school day. Seeing their friends. Their routine. We are all grieving our rituals.

 

And as in all loss, we realize now that we never appreciated how good we had it. It is important to acknowledge how we are feeling. The tears. The frustration. The loss. The denial. You need to feel it in order to heal it.

 

Because we are all grieving together, who bears witness to our grief? Who is there to comfort us when we are so wrapped up in our own pain?

 

There is a parable about a man who enters the most beautiful dining room. It is set with long tables, draped in velvet clothes, china, crystal, with polished silverware at each place setting. There are garlands of flowers stretched from one end of the banquet table to the other end. The smells in the room are aromatic and pleasing, the man knows he will have a scrumptious meal. Then he looks around and the people in the room are skinny and shaking, they look miserable and he can see they are starving. Why is that so? As they try to eat, their spoons are so long they cannot fit them into their mouths--- in agony they smell the smells yet cannot capture any of the food.

The man enters the next room and there is the resplendent scene repeated but this time, there is laughter and gaiety--- he notices that everyone is using their long spoon---- to feed each other.

 

We have to be there for each other right now. We have to bear witness to our neighbors’ grief and be there for them, despite our own sense of loss and bewilderment.

 

This was a poignant podcast I heard between Brene Brown and David Kessler. I found myself nodding to so much of what they had to say. But then I listened again and thought about my own knowledge, my learning, and my DNA, and the meaning I take from all of this.

 

What if our grieving over life how it used to be is appropriate for now. But as GA opens up--- today the manicures and salons, the waxing appointments--- all opening their doors beckoning me inside-- and then other states follow suit, there is a deeper layer of grief that we need to be aware of.

 

This is the grief that is slowly washing over me, I feel it like a trickle, the trickle before the flooding rises, submerging me beneath its raging waters.

 

It was a mad rush into quarantine, yet to me, there was catharsis in being in it together with everyone. This morning as my texts pinged and my emails dinged announcing appointments available, in whatever the new normal looks like--- I sensed that once again I could become submerged in the BC, before Corona life.

 

My gut tells me that the real grief for humanity will be if we go back to all that was normal to us. If we go back to the toxicity of polluting our environments and the excess in materialism, to the human distractions and the family disconnection. If we go back to our long spoons, living only for ourselves.

 

We mustn’t. It will be compounding a tragedy.

 

Folks, be aware.

A tidal wave is coming. Are you strong enough to stand up to it?

 

I felt it come this morning.

I took a few deep breaths.

I put on my sneakers.

I ignored the pull back into the vortex and ran. I ran into nature and chirping birds. A bubbling brook.

The manicure can wait, so can the wax. The pedicure---- well that I will have to negotiate.

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