Updated: Nov 10, 2020
Well, it has been one heck of a year. I don't know about you, but I'm ready to see what 2021 has in store for all of us ...
But before we start fantasizing that 2021 is going to be all sunshine and rainbows, let's just pause a moment. If you visit my site regularly, you may have noticed that I always promote my program, "LOSE IT - GRIEVE IT - REBUILD." (You define what 'it' is) For me, "It" was more like a variety pack of lose it.
If you're like me, you like to plan ahead. I had a 'Vision of 2020' as some sort of breakthrough year. In January, I got the job of my dreams as a Community Outreach Director and Grief Recovery Specialist. So, like anyone would do, I began to plan out what the year of 2020 would offer.
So I rolled up my sleeves and I got to work on the following:
Outreach Programs for hospice, chaplains, and grievers - CANCELLED
Death Cafe's for those who just needed a safe place to talk about what they are going through while facing an imminent death - CANCELLED
Events such as Mother's Day, Father's Day, Ching Ming Festival, Memorial Day, Avenue of Flags, Fall Festivals, Infant Loss, Festival of Lights, Speaking engagements, - CANCELLED
Vacation to The Cayman Island - CANCELLED
Oh and there's more ... Many of us either lost our jobs or had our hours cut back. Working from home had it's challenges and adjustments. Returning to work for many of us seemed exciting - Then we soon realized just how many were not deemed as "Essential Workers" and our hearts sank. Traffic showed us just how many were not able to return to their jobs.
I talk to families everyday - One of the most heart-breaking stories was when a man was describing to me that he had placed his mother in an assisted-living facility in January. Then Covid-19 hit. He and his family were tormented at the thought of not being able to hug her, kiss her forehead, and touch her loving hands. He wept as he was finally able to express that the next time he was able to kiss her forehead and touch her hands, was in her casket. We both cried -
I could write a book on the array of stories I've heard as families were forced to choose who could attend a funeral and who would be viewing a live stream. Sadly, many families simply opted for a cremation with no services. No closure goes with that ... as there is something about that final 'goodbye' that comes with a funeral service.
ELECTIONS... UGH!! All I can say about this is that you find out who your friends are. The social media attacks if you happened to disagree with someone was in a league of it's own. The censorship and loss of being able to utilize your freedom of speech with out ending up in facebook jail or having your account suspended made many of us avoid getting on any kind of social media.
A LESSON FROM 2020
As I reflect on 2020 I realized that I am NOT in control. Yes, I still make plans and I am still optimistic as to what tomorrow could bring to the table of life. Yet the lessons I learned were life changing for me.
2020 showed me that fear can grip and paralyze you if you place all of your focus on it. So, like so many of you, I had to grab a hold of my fears and put them in their proper place. Most of what we fear never happens, yet for some, they place too much emphasis on them and those fears become a target and all of their worst fears come true.
2020 showed me how to listen. I was really working hard on becoming better at listening than speaking. It was incredible as I would hear people share their hearts, the pain they felt, the uncertainty they had about the future, and yes, those ugly fears began to surface again and again. I not only heard what people were saying - I also began to realize I could hear what they were NOT saying. Most of what they were not saying was based in .... You got it ... FEAR.
I learned that when people are afraid and under a lot of stress, they are different than they normally are. This is where my prayer life seemed to grow. I came across a verse in the Bible that stated: "Out of the mouth, the heart speaks." It was pretty powerful to read that as I recalled the array of grievers who could do nothing but speak from their heart. I began to pay attention to the words that flowed. I began to hear things like regret, guilt, bitterness, resentment, hatred, unforgiveness, and the list goes on. So, I began to look a little deeper inside of my own heart ... I saw quickly that I had to work on some things that I had thought I'd dealt with. So I too continued with my grief recovery work.
2020 actually taught me how to slow down in life. I recall getting out and realizing all that I had taken for granted before ... you know, the little things like hearing the birds singing, the smell of fresh coffee brewing, the clouds that floated so gracefully above, the sounds of bees buzzing even seemed to have a music of their own. Face timing with my grandchildren and other family members who were feeling that isolation made my heart feel happy and full of love. I realized how much of this amazing life I was overlooking. Even the sunrise brought tears to my eyes.
2020 taught that life is so very fragile. I realized suddenly that the rest of the world didn't see death tolls on a daily basis like I have for the past 20 years. I had spent years watching what is called, The Death Clock and the numbers didn't seem all that high considering the season. Yet the news made it sound as if we were all going to die. I watched as people panicked and stocked up on toilet paper and thought to myself ... "Of all things - why toilet paper?" If I was going to die from a virus, I think I would rather stock up on what time I had left ... So I could let those I love and care for deeply that I love them and appreciate all the sweet and precious memories they have filled my heart with.
Although we are still here in 2020 - I feel optimistic about so many things. I still believe it taught families about the preiciousness of time spent together. 2020 is showing us all where our priorities have been, and if you're like me, I had mine in the wrong areas. I found that I was drifting away from my first love - God. I was going through the motions of praying instead of allowing my heart to flood with love, worship and faith. I was too busy at times to slow down and make calls to those who had been on my mind, and check in on them. Work was becoming my number one instead of time with family. I mean I know we all have to work to provide, but so many of us live solely for Corporations. Our children and marriages suffer when our prioroities are all wrong.
We lost a lot in 2020 .... I encourage you to stop and take the time to look at some of those losses. Many will find that some of those losses were actually a blessing in disguise. Some will need to grieve those losses. Some have done this and like me, you're ready to plan to REBUILD.
From my heart to yours,
Kim - a.k.a. The Grief Lady