Lifting the Lockdown - ‘We must rebuild that sense of life’
(5/5/20 Rebecca Abrams and Andy Langford Cruse Bereavement Care Zoom conversation entitled ‘Covid -19 A Different Kind of Grief?’)
With Covid disruption, how do we do that?
My late afternoon is reshaping into early evening, work done, yoga finished, it is still, silent. I sense blue, Covid blue? Is that slight sensation one of fear? Its more neutral than that; I wonder if others in our street, our community, our country are sensing this too at this moment?
I go back to it, in the silence I notice a quiet hum, an internal hum? There is slight relief when I realise it is the fridge; yet still, there is a resonance, what is it?
A sadness, yes, I acknowledge the experience of collective grief. When ‘normal factors are amplified’, Rebecca’s comment acts as a helpful reminder. As my exploration unfolds there is a tapestry of pleasant and unpleasant feelings. I have become used to this life, there is a pattern to it; physically I feel so well, my daily walk, regular yoga and healthy eating help that, even my sleep is good. The new experience is the depth of my relationship with nature. The dawn chorus reminds us that it is business as usual as the beauty of the day unfolds. And, yes it has been an extraordinary spring with a collective message of ‘we blossom and grow in this world of clean air, no traffic and less people’.
My awareness of the sense of safety about my children, is a comfort. Both in comfortable accommodation, taking their exercise, lots of virtual conversations, no peer pressure about appearance. One of them wants to carry on like this, ‘Why would I want to go into work? I would have to go on the tube close to lots of other people; here, I connect virtually with those I need to and do lots of work uninterrupted when on my own.’
Throughout all this, the sound of death is omnipresent. Each night we hear of care worker’s experiences, some are joyful as patients come off their respirators and are welcomed home. Still, the daily statistics remind us of why we are here. I gasp at the news that our number of deaths is second highest in the world, ‘How on earth has it come to this?’ Keir Starmer asks in Parliament.
Yet, the economy has to kick start again, in any event, we will carry that burden of debt for years, let us not make it worse, we must get it going soon, they say. In a few days we will be told of what that unlocking will look like. I feel my anxious anticipation of Covid fear; its more than that though, those similar feeling from the beginning of lock down re-emerge. At that time, it was the loss of life as it we knew it, busy, active, stimulating, seeing lots of people, going to places, no fear. Now it’s the loss of a gentler, quieter, ordered life, one of feeling more in tune with ourselves and those around us. I am more centred; ‘I don’t want to go back’ says the internal voice, a cry I have heard repeated around me. Yes, unique and collective grief, doubled; it brings a jangled sense as I gaze at this transition in to a different, unknown world.
Turning to Rebecca’s call to action ‘We must rebuild that sense of life’, my thoughts return to how all of our patterns in life began, namely through our first relationships. In this transition we are going to need to trust that we can bring with us what we learned that gives us a sense of steadiness. As I experience this moment of discomfort, I notice the void and sense of disaggregation. I pause and I recall all the new habits I have put in to place which have kept me steady in this turbulent time. I remember telling someone that my regular MENY (meditation, exploration and learning, nature experiences and yoga) had now become part of my daily life. With lifting the lockdown and the journey through this unsteadying transition. I must not forget to keep those routines going as they will help me rebuild ‘that sense of life’. After all, I will be able to actually see my children, my stepchildren, grandchildren and hopefully, our future grandchild, soon to be born.