Here’s When You’ll Know the Pandemic Is Really Over
It’s hard to know when the end of the pandemic will finally come. What does “end” really mean, anyway? Is it when you’re vaccinated? Is it when most of the people in your community are?
What if the end of the pandemic has nothing to do with the vaccine at all? What if it’s not the vaccine that will ultimately deliver us from the pandemic, but our own psyches?
This is the question Rosie Spinks deals with in her most recent post on Medium, “The Pandemic Will Never End Unless You Grieve It.” For Spinks, a frequent Forge contributor, the pandemic is not a historical or personal blip that interrupted our lives. It is a cataclysmic event involving more loss than we know, and it set us on a new path. The old path is gone. And until we fully grieve what we’ve lost, we won’t be able to make sense of our new lives.
“There is so. much. grief,” Spinks writes. “Some days I can see it in people’s posture. And yet, I don’t see many people talking about it. It drives me nuts.”
So, we should talk about it. We won’t be fully whole again until we do.
“Holding space for everything I’ve lost is precisely what has allowed me to create something entirely new with my life this year,” she writes. “Once I started examining what I’d lost, honoring it, and allowing it, I started to see all the other ways my life needed to change in order to adapt to what’s coming.”
There are any number of ways to grieve, but the simplest is to just give yourself the time (doesn’t have to be a lot) and space to consider all you’ve been through this year: “Set aside 20 minutes a day to sit in a quiet room and notice how you feel. Allow the feelings you usually avoid to arise. Don’t judge them when they do.”
Ritualize it. Make it a part of your new life because it’s ultimately a positive force.
“When you make adequate time and space to honor your grief and feel it move through your body, things start to happen,” Spinks writes. “Grief, if you cede to it, can serve as an embodied reminder that what we are all doing here is a one time limited time offer. The only certainty is that it’s going to end. It’s the ultimate memento mori.”
Grief isn’t a situational balm. It’s a healthy practice. We may need it now more than ever, but we always need it.