My husband passed away over five years ago, but these past few weeks have found me reflecting and thinking about him in a way I haven’t for a while. I feel as if I’ve been widowed all over again.
I got to thinking, why? Why now more than ever?
For one thing, there’s the obvious. I miss the comfort and reassurance a partner in life can provide during times of crisis and upheaval. The quiet talks telling you everything will be all right. The kids will be all right. The economy will be all right. Your heart will be all right. I’m now doing it alone, and my sense of isolation in all this is certainly compounded.
But it’s more than that. In a way I’ve come to realize it’s as if we’ve all been somehow widowed. We’re all experiencing a communal loss. What we once relied on for comfort (our routines, our sense of security in this world, our economic freedom), has, overnight, been taken away. Those late-night talks have been ripped from our reality. We are bereft and left struggling to find our new way in the world.
In effect, our collective partner has died.
But what I also know first-hand is now is the time we need to rely on others to help us through. Because we can get through. And we will get through. We will grieve the loss, fight through the anger and the depression, and navigate our way to, ultimately, an acceptance of our new place in life.
But we won’t do it alone. And we won’t do it easily. Grief is an arduous journey. Now is the time to uplift. To reach out. To comfort and allow ourselves to be comforted.
So, send that text. Reply to that text. Call on someone suddenly home with young children. Check on your neighbor who is alone. Thank those who are tirelessly going to work to help the community at large. These are the ways we will help collectively mourn the loss we’re all experiencing right now.
I remember an overwhelming feeling after my husband died that I would never smile again. That the world had gone dark and there wouldn’t be a light bright enough to ever let me see its beauty again. This lasted for months and months. But then one day I found myself laughing. And one day I woke up and his death wasn’t the first thing on my mind. And so on and so on, until eventually, I started living with joy again, thanks to the support of family and friends.
So, find the light. Let someone hold it for you, or be it for someone.
Even the smallest flame can start a wildfire.
Louise Rampersaud is the co-creator of https://www.facebook.com/quarantinecardsfb/ or @quarantinecards on Instagram.