It's Okay to Mourn Your Pre-Pandemic Self
I broke during the middle of my last “normal” day at work. It was March 13, and I had watched my workplace change dramatically. I was exhausted. For the first time in days, I took a moment to breathe. When I took those breaths, the reality of my personal life started colliding in my brain. I realized my son would not get the final performance, prom, or the graduation we had planned with pride. I knew my daughter would not get her special eighth-grade dance or a chance to end middle school with any finality.
I felt the weight of it, and I allowed myself to feel every bit of my sadness. I needed to mourn the loss of all the simple moments I had taken for granted in years past. I needed to be sad so I could be prepared when the reality of the pandemic hit my kids. Allowing myself to feel that crushing disappointment comes from a parenting lesson I learned years ago. It was time to use that lesson during this new world crisis.
"I needed to mourn the loss of all the simple moments I had taken for granted in years past."
I learned the importance of allowing myself to mourn after my daughter was born with a physical difference. I didn’t know she had just one hand until the moment she was born. Once I knew she was physically okay, I discovered myself going through all the stages of grief. I worked to accept how my baby would not experience a path I had expected. Once I mourned, I picked myself up and committed to giving her the best life I could.
I focused on doing what I could for her physical and mental health. I knew the day would come when she would need to mourn. It happened for the first time when she was 4 years old. She was crying, and instead of redirecting her away from sadness, I guided her through her grief. I helped her move through her feelings and keep going.
From that parenting experience, I’ve learned how to support my kids through many unexpected moments of loss and sadness. This pandemic is a big one. I’m forever thankful I gave myself time to feel. It gave me the foundation to be the person my kids can lean on when they continue to need the time to mourn this constantly changing and uncertain world.