I remember standing at the high kitchen counter. My back was facing the big sliding door as the sun started to set and I was leaning against the worn wicker chair. My tear streamed face was turned down and I was looking at my fingers.
“It’s going to be ok,” I kept saying to no one in particular.
My dad had died earlier that day and we had gathered in the kitchen as family started to show up.
“It’s going to be ok.”
At the time, my brain was spouting words of comfort while stuck in a spinning cycle of thoughts. I hadn’t gotten to the What-the-actual-F*** part yet. I was just trying to soothe the immediate blow.
There have been millions of posts about the world right now. Memes swish in cyberspace and hearts are broken on Facebook and with every It’s-going-to-be-ok sentiment exists a person leaning against chairs in the midst of confusion and swirling thoughts.
If you’re paying attention, your brain and your body are trying to self-soothe.
I don’t remember anyone responding to my five word phrase that day. No one was acknowledging my need to make things ok.
This was not ok. Someone I loved had died.
All over the world, people have died and their losses are broadcast on the news, turned into cautionary tales, used to make other folks terrified. Shame creeps in as the media lurks and warns and flashes as we silently pray, “Please not my people.”
In his book, Joe Biden estimates that for every person we lose, six people are intimately grieving that loss. The US lost over 20,000 people this month. Multiply that by six and realize the number of folks now plunged into grief. Add on the ones who already lost someone and the number of those impacted grows substantially. We’re triggered, we’re sad, we’re wondering and I’m hoping, staying the heck home.
This is not ok.
I’ve been at home for a month now. I know people who have gotten sick and my heart aches when I see posts of people who have died. No one is untouched by this experience.
I flashback to the kitchen and the white wicker bar stool and I whisper to my younger self, “No, this isn’t ok.”
I wish someone had said that to me.
This isn’t ok.
I’ve learned, in the last four years, when we call out the truth of our horrible experiences they lose the tight grips on our hearts and our worried brains.
There’s no going back.
I’m more compassionate to myself. I’m less tolerant of the things our world tells us are important. My molecules have rearranged and my perspectives have softened. I’m quicker to anger at injustice and ache for connection. Scars of loneliness get special attention and I type into the void with calm fingers wishing people could listen — all of our not-ok-ness is valid. We deserve a place to put our not ok stories.
This is not ok.
Let us weep and rest and extend grace to others as we make new choices from what remains. We will stand and move out of the rubble of the worlds we once knew. Donate money. Throw things safely.
Call out the not-ok-ness. I promise these four words are beautiful things.