The Ambient Grief of the Moment

A Colorado woman wrote an article in the New York Times about how her heated car seat provided her great solace physically, sexually, and emotionally. The text was mostly about who invented the heated car seat and why it was so pleasurable. Amidst the light-hearted story, there was an accurate description of what many of us have been feeling: the ambient grief of the moment.

I recognize grief. I felt it deeply 22 years ago when I had endometrial cancer and lost my last chance to have a child. That grief helped me remember my grandfather’s death. He died when I was 14 months old. I had no conscious memories of being with him, but in a Reiki session, my body revealed my baby self’s grief of the loss of the one person who loved me deeply and who I had loved deeply. I cried for many months during this period.

I also had other symptoms. I lost things, essential things like my wallet, many times. I would find myself in the middle of NYC without my purse and any ID or metro card. The only way to get home was to walk a couple of miles. I remember thinking that the cancer treatment had taken away my uterus and was also a sort of lobotomy. It was when I found focusing through an organization called Cancer Care. Focusing helped me find myself again.

Lately, with the rise of COVID to such dramatic proportions, I find myself in the same position emotionally. I’m always losing things. I think I’m doing something that I usually do, and it turns out I missed a couple of steps. The outcome is I have to spend hours fixing it. I’m also losing my ability to explain things.

There is weekly news of friends and acquaintances who have died along with the thousands world-wide. It was impossible to find a world-wide number of deaths, but the US is reporting that one person dies every minute from COVID.

There are also deaths from other things like heart disease, cancer, lung, and digestive disorders. Most of the people I knew who have died lately are not dying from COVID, but some other conditions. It is as if living with a chronic illness in the time of COVID is just too much to bear.

I am a part of a Buddhist organization. There is a recommendation that we chant for the consolation of those suffering from the impact of COVID. I didn’t take this seriously at first, but now I sense how it can help me with the grief I feel.

On the surface, I “handle” living with COVID by plotting how my husband and I can survive this crisis. What I haven’t been paying attention to is sensing into how the situation is impacting my body. Reading that phrase in an article about heated car seats gave me a connection to my symptoms and the cause. It is the collective sense of grief that is overwhelming our senses.

I don’t have a solution, but I hope our readers can share how they are experiencing this grief and if you have found a way to hold space for it while allowing your body to discover what it needs to heal.

Heated Car Seats Are an Antidote to Our Grief  by Hermione Hoby

Photo by: Diana Scalera

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