Grieving Lost Things

by belinda

It feels like we’ve reached a phase in this pandemic where we have nothing much to say to each other. We started out all cocky and optimistic – things were a novelty. Let’s bake guys! Let’s exercise! Help others! Share memes! But with the end of the long Easter weekend, everything just feels extremely…meh.

We’re starting to get on each others’ nerves. We’ve watched all the things we wanted to. Read all our good books. Work may be trickling in, or not at all, and we’re starting to worry about what the future holds. And then enter home schooling, which began for me today, bringing with it a whole other set of frustrations and challenges.

Reality has sunk in. We don’t know what the rest of the year looks like. If and when the lockdown ends, we won’t suddenly go back to life as normal, we know that. Things are going to be different, and potentially difficult, for a long, long time.

So I think it’s okay to surrender. To mooch a bit. To not have much of value to add. To just get by, and get through the days. Sometimes we don’t have to be all sparkly and optimistic and creative. Sometimes we just have to be. Allow ourselves to feel whatever it is that we’re feeling and not feel guilty about it. For most of us, I’m sure this wave of grey will pass. It is part of the process of grieving for the things we have lost, as many articles like this have stipulated.

Many of us are told to be grateful for what we have, and while gratitude exercises are very valuable, don’t let them take away from you being able to recognise what you’ve lost personally. We know that we are lucky and privileged to have food in our fridges, a safe and warm home to be in, our health and our families, but you can still mourn those things you’ve lost because of this pandemic.

For me, it’s things like not being able to attend the book launch tomorrow for Living While Feminist, that I was so excited to be part of. I had finally got a story of mine published (!) in a real life book, but due to the virus, the book hasn’t even been printed yet, and there won’t obviously an event to promote it either. You can however buy the ebook so long here and I’ll be writing about my contribution/essay soon, so you can learn more what my story means to me, and what the collection is about.

I also miss being outside, in the ocean. We trained for about nine months to take part in the National Lifesaving Championships at the end of March in PE and it all came crashing down, just before we had our chance to compete as a team. I can feel my strength fading too, and all that hard work, those freezing winter swims in icy water, those weekend training camps and late night fitness sessions – it’s all come to nothing.

I’m grieving the trip we were going to take in June to the UK to see my sister and meet my brand new nephew. The kids have never been out of the country before, and we’d been talking about it together for a full year, planning all the things we’d do and see. There are lots of other little losses, which I know deep down are not important in the grander scheme of things. But they are still things I have lost, and those losses are valid.

Sometimes it helps to voice these losses, because we all have them. Either express them to friends or family, or write them down somewhere (you don’t even have to show anyone). I know even just listing those few things above have made me a feel a tiny bit better, a little bit lighter.

I miss my friends. I miss smiling at people in real life and seeing their faces, hearing their stories. I miss the routines we had and the life we lived. Nothing is certain anymore, and we can grieve the loss of a future we’d held strongly in our minds for so long, which has suddenly been rubbed clean off the blackboard. Poof! It’s gone, and in its place? A huge empty unknown.

It’s okay to mourn that. In fact, it would be weird if we didn’t. So today I’m going to feel a bit grey and sad, and then tomorrow I’m sure this feeling will pass. Until it returns again – because I know from experience that grief is a slippery creature, who cannot be easily controlled (in fact, the more you surrender to it, the easier and quicker it will leave you).

So here’s to feeling all the feelings, acknowledging those feelings, and then picking yourself up again with a lighter heart once they have passed.

Sending love.




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Simone Blanckenberg April 14, 2020 - 8:15 pm

Thank you for this B and for so perfectly verbalising exactly how I have felt today. Today has been my first “bad” day of lockdown. And it was damn awful. Homeschooling was terrible and I was not a “good” mom today. I really really missed my “old” life today, when things were so so easy (in comparison) and where so many every day burdens were shared. Thank you for sharing your feelings and helping me feel a bit better about things!

Catherine April 15, 2020 - 7:49 am

Thank you for writing what so many of us are feeling! This is such a strange time, where we are constantly reminded of how much we have to be grateful for, but feeling like we are living something of a half-life.

Laura April 15, 2020 - 8:38 am

Yip. Well said. x

Bevin le Roux April 15, 2020 - 9:14 am

Well said B. I am feeling the same way and from the other comments Above we are all feeling the same way. So I suppose their is come comfort in that.

Carmen April 15, 2020 - 9:39 am

Exactly how I am feeling! My productivity has gone down and juggling two under 2, working, cleaning and trying to squeeze in some exercise all of a sudden feels too much. I really miss the really arbitrary things I had completely taken for granted like clean linen, mopped floors and neatly packed cupboards which by the time the kids are asleep and I’ve managed to do some work I just doing have the energy to do!

Theresa April 15, 2020 - 10:05 am

My moods ebb and flow like tides – and I’ve learnt to let it happen. Tomorrow we will have done 4 weeks of home schooling, with another 12 to go… before 2 months of summer hols. Gulp. We hadn’t booked anything, but getting out of the heat is crucial for our sanity. After 4 weeks of home-schooling, perfectionism has been replaced with pragmatism. We’re trying to create things to compensate for those we’ve lost, like a weekly weekend challenge with friends – last weekend it was baking Hot Cross Buns, this one, garden camping, which we share via whatsapp groups/zoom. I feel like our lock down could be lifted soon, and while we may not be able to leave, at least we can resume life to some extent.

SARAH April 15, 2020 - 12:24 pm

HI Belinda,

Thanks so much for such a lovely read, I also had a very bleh day yesterday, i think it was coming off the high of Easter with baking, lots of chockies, gin and sunshine. My worry is that this won’t suddenly go back to normal on the 1st May – what will normal be? and I worry so much for many people’s financial situations. Grateful for small blessings xx

belinda April 20, 2020 - 12:22 pm

Thanks everyone for your kind words – let’s hope this week is better x

Dominique Malherbe May 7, 2020 - 2:43 pm

Hi Belinda
Glad to have been alerted to your blog via Karina just now. Thank you for sharing your words here. I can relate to much of it and know too the feeling that when you’ve written it down, it somehow feels a little lighter. Hope to get printed version of your contribution too sometime and well done! Strength to you and fam in all the uncertainty that seems a constant for now. xx

belinda May 11, 2020 - 4:10 pm

Thanks Dominique! Hope to see you at Karina’s sometime in the future (& hang in there too). x


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