Grief in the Time of Pandemic – learning to hold joy and sadness at once

Did you see our big announcements?  We are over the moon excited, but that feeling has been paired with a lot of disappointment and grief as well over the last two months. This time has been REALLY hard. 

Now, I’m not saying I am any worse off than anyone else. I know so many people are going through things that are so much harder, but I think all of us have experienced grief and disappointment on some level in all of this. It’s okay to acknowledge those feelings, even if they don’t feel as “big” as what other people are going through. 

One thing I am trying to get better at is being okay with opposing emotions. My default would be to not acknowledge the sadness this time has held because I should be HAPPY about these changes. Or alternatively, I would only feel the “woe is me” from the sadness and forget to celebrate the joy of this season. I have some great role models in my life teaching me that it’s okay to feel both. That Jesus can handle both. That both are valid, even at the same time.

The time we are living in is so unique. I want to remember both and document both sides of life in this time. Today, I want to document the harder parts.

Baby Announcement – but make it virtual

Our birth announcements didn’t get to be WITH our people. While we were never the type of couple that would have had a big, flashy announcement, it was still hard to not get to tell people in person (or at all for many people). I’d always imagined having time with my wonderful friends and coworkers soaking up the same joy that I’d seen showered on other people in my circle in the past.  No one gets excited about a baby like my coworkers. They are just the best. Instead, I had to tell them on Zoom from quarantine, and some I never got to tell. 

That alone wouldn’t have been too painful. After all – I’ll be pregnant for many more months.  However, we had the added news of moving to a new state!  This was the only true chance I would have to celebrate with my people.  

I will say, the bright side of pregnancy in this season has been not going to work. I’ve been SO nauseated 24/7, and being able to lay in bed more than I would have was a bonus!

Grief in the Goodbyes

Moving in a pandemic, during a time of staying-at-home, also meant we didn’t get to visit with our dearest friends and family before leaving.  We didn’t get to visit our favorite places one last time. There was no final weekend with our church family. One of the hardest parts is that I never got to say goodbye to my kiddos or the community that I’ve built at NLA over the last 6 years. 

It feels as though we have simply disappeared – that we’re ghosting everyone from our life in Minnesota. It’s hard. Thanks to the need for learning packets, I did get to say goodbye to a handful of coworkers. But without the hugs or the time to really get to say goodbye, it all felt so surreal.

On the other side

The grief didn’t stop when we crossed state lines.  Even though we live in the place we’ve wanted to for a long time and we are SO thrilled to be here, it’s hard. One of the things we promised each other long before we moved is that we would immediately join a church and meet the people in our community. Relationships take time, and we wanted to start working on that right away. Now, even though our new state is slowly starting to lift restrictions, we have to be extra cautious because of my pregnancy. Church isn’t open. Our neighborhood events have all been cancelled, and the common areas are closed. While on many days, it doesn’t feel any different than being safe-at-home in Minnesota, some days it feels lonelier.

I’m not writing any of this for pity, but simply because I want to remember what this season was like.  It’s such a strange thing to move, announce a pregnancy, and just live during a pandemic!