I’m grieving

Charlotte Abramson, Opinions Editor

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I think we need to take the time to talk about loss. It’s incredibly isolating. We’re living through unprecedented times and I think in some form or another, everyone is grieving. Grieving for loved ones lost, grieving for opportunities the pandemic has stolen, grieving for the freedom we all took for granted. 

I guess this is a little about loss and a little about change, but I think they’re one in the same at this point. My chest hurts as I’m writing this and I have to be honest—I’m close to tears. Some days it’s okay, we wake up with smiles and laughter. And other days, it’s a struggle to get out of bed and that is also completely okay.

I couldn’t get out of bed today. I skipped my classes and slept for hours. I’m not depressed, I’m just exhausted. Grief is exhausting. We put so much pressure on ourselves to show up and perform, but when was the last time you took some time to just not be okay? 

I hugged a random girl in the bathroom the other day. I walked in on her trying to wipe the smeared makeup from under her eyes and she immediately apologized. I didn’t know her, never asked for her name, only if she wanted a hug. Grief is isolating, and the pandemic has only made that worse. 

I know the risk, I probably shouldn’t have. The truth is, we both needed that physical contact to be okay again, to be able to wipe the smeared mascara out from under our eyes and get back to our degrees. 

I watched a mom break down in Fred Meyers the other day. Her toddler wouldn’t leave the mask on his face alone and she was clearly at her breaking point. Some other shopper gave her a nasty look and the look of despair was enough to break anyone’s heart. I just don’t understand when we lost that innate compassion for others. This distance from others has changed us.

We’re quicker to anger, quicker to cry, and less likely to reach out when someone needs help. When did we stop talking about the overwhelming grief we’re all experiencing? It comes in waves, but that shouldn’t be a reason to ignore it. 

I’m struggling to do my assignments again. I really want to, I’m not trying to fail and I hope my professors see that. I have support and I’m not alone, but grief is exigent and all-consuming at points. This isn’t a cry for help—I’m okay. Just grieving. 

I hate when people put a timeline on it, or try to attach stages. Your grief is your own, and everyone deals with it differently. I don’t think it ever hurts less, I think we simply adjust, make space for it and just learn to live with it. It’s a sobering fact—I’m trying to come to terms with it.  

It doesn’t help that I’m angry all the damn time. Then, something will rub me wrong and I’m in tears and ready to scream. Combative, cruel, distanced, lost, numb, quiet—I feel like a rollercoaster of everything we try to avoid. 

My professors have all been fabulous, despite my rather consistent lack of participation and attendance. If you guys read this, thank you for being flexible and letting my health be more important than an assignment’s due date. I promise, I’m really trying. 

So please, be kind to your roommates, your classmates, and your friends. Be kind to strangers in the store, people on the street, and others around us. Everyone is hurting right now, and it’s okay to admit it. Be gentle with yourself, take that nap or eat that extra snack. Put the textbook down and turn on Netflix, or go out with a friend. School isn’t everything, as much as we all believe it is. 

You are more important.