Nowadays almost everyone on the planet has had a brush with loss. Though the biggest loss of all is human life and we have been overwhelmed with grief on that one. Still the loss of a job, the freedom to go to school, to socialise face to face with friends, and certainly the loss of necessities such as food and medicine are not to be sneezed at. Loss hurts and has emotional and mental consequences. Of course some loss is deeper than other loss but whatever level it is on, loss can and does cause emotional and mental duress, and needs to be handled with care.
My latest vlog (well sort of it; still getting there) is about social media etiquette during loss. As we are spending more time than ever on social media and simultaneously facing great loss, it is so important to navigate the space with good emotional and mental health in mind. You can watch here!
Meanwhile watch this space for our new podcast released tomorrow, Wednesday, May 20! The topic is rejection, a timely matter, almost always but particularly now during lockdown. Naomi Richards, known as Britain’s Kids Coach gives great tips on how to manage rejection in a tight space. Pass on to your friends as we could all do with a little extra help about now on how to feel accepted during a difficult time. Take care of yourself inside out and remember it is you I owe.
Readiness is important in many major areas of life: ready for university, ready for marriage, ready for parenthood, and sometimes after a long absence, we need to be ready to do something vital again such as work.
For weeks now, I have not written anything comprehensible, haven’t worked. I am sure this hinges on the loss of my mother. Though I have had much to say, I haven’t had the wherewithal to say it in writing. Let’s face it. Daunted by grief, I quit working for nearly three months.
This is not to brag about it. Nor is it something that I am particularly proud of. On the contrary, I would like to pretend it hasn’t happened. But it has and all things that happen out of order, my silence as a writer, deserve an explanation.
Otherwise, such practices sneak their way into the norm, though I do understand that it is normal to grieve. And that there is no set time when we should get back to work, back to life as we knew it before loss. Of course, the latter never happens since with loss, life changes and often drastically, depending on the degree of the loss. We find ourselves taking on new roles, living in unacquainted space, etc. I know I have, but that’s another blog.
In any case, most of us have a responsibility not only to ourselves, but also to our surviving loved ones to live after loss and often to the deceased one, too.
A friend pointed out that surely my mother wouldn’t want me to quit indefinitely. Spot on! When she lost her father to a tragic accident and then her mother to an illness, my mom felt broken hearted as I do now, but was able to maintain her commitments to family, church, community and work and so on.
On this note, it is fortunate for me that I am self-employed and have a fall back—my husband. Otherwise I am almost sure I would be out of job, not to mention what else I would be out of.
But writers, artists, the likes, do have a history of long absences; dry spells and so on, since the mind is our most valuable tool. And grief, at least for me, has been mind blowing. The tricks of the trade that helped me out of the dessert in the past have been futile —stepping away from the work, running, which normally satisfies my thirst, letting the work rest and going back to it and so on.
This time, the quagmire, whatever you want to call it, was different. As I came to terms with this, I accepted my feelings as natural to the grieving process, although they felt (and still do) rather alien, as alien as death itself, though dying is a natural part of living, I said with a brave face to a dear friend the other day.
With heartfelt remorse, she replied, no it isn’t.
Of course we’re both right. Everyone has to die; there is no way around it. It is the natural end to life, however it comes about. But death is an evasive matter, one that plunges us into the depths of grief. Nothing about it feels natural. Nothing.
Yet, here I am, to some still early days yet, returning to work. To others, I am ever so late. Due to the nature of their work and the way they process grief, they’ve been back for ages, even if their hearts still ache.
But here is the thing that we likely have in common. To some degree, we return to work, do what we need to do, when we are ready. Ultimately it was such words that provided the incentive I needed to write again, coupled with a take away from my church’s Bible in One Year subscription.
In Luke 19: 11-14, Jesus tells The Parable of the Ten Minas, in which a man of noble birth called ten of his servants and gave them a mina each before he left on a journey. When he returned, it was the one who turned the one into ten that received the highest of blessings, precisely because he made good use of his resource.
To paraphrase our vicar, Nicky Gumbel, we are not only supposed to use our money, but also all the gifts God has given us. That means the gift of writing, too.
Hence, I am ready and I hope you are too. Visit sonjalewis.com or sonjalewis.com for weekly blogs on life, on lifestyle, on London, and other relevant topics. See you next week.