No one I knew had died but it consumed me

Written on
Contribution by
Anonymous

It was exciting at first: solidarity, community, connection.
A novelty.
Opportunity.
A chance to prove and demonstrate my resilience.
Everything was flipped upside down yet we found new ways, new paths and a new satisfaction.
"It's just a few months right?"

But by early summer it faded.
Drifted so far from what we had first created;
Shattered into tiny pieces.
Was this what life was now: soulless, frustration, cold.
The work had built up, virtual fun was far from it and I suddenly felt
Alone.
People close and far were dying, death was just the norm now.
Numbers were chilling
But dehumanised so far from the front line and the
Grieving families.
I sent 3 bouquets of sympathy flowers.
The smallest of gestures when a funeral cannot be fully held.

The power of touch
A simple hug, clutch of the hand, a handshake
All vanished. And nothing would compromise.
Again, alone.

The closeness of death was suffocating. The news, my friends, my family, colleagues. But no one I directly knew had died. But why did I feel so
Overwhelmed?
Imagery resurfaced and flashed from eye to eye,
Suppressed from a tragic incident years ago.
Distracting and haunting. The imagery stayed, unwelcomed and dominant.
Day and night.
I felt selfish.
No one I knew had died but it consumed me and I was
Stuck.
My chest would tighten from deep within.
A rash would decorate my skin.
I couldn't concentrate.
Dreams taunted me.
Wake up like a bus had hit me.
Tears cascaded down my cheeks.
What was this? I was meant to be resilient, had I
Failed?

Pulled aside, I heard the gentle words "it's ok not to be ok, does your work have a hotline?"
I called:
"Hello .."

Against my former beliefs, it's the bravest thing I've ever done.
Each conversation, private, not selfish, not indulgent but
Cure.
I listened. I reflected. I set boundaries to
Protect myself.
This upset some.
That hurt. But others
shone.
They were there. Above and beyond.
I never felt alone.

2020 has shaken our very core.
Our beliefs, dreams and comforts have been thrown up into the foggy sky.
Landed in an unfamiliar mosaic.
Yet, this unfamiliar territory offers us a chance to learn.

I never knew that
to be brave
Is to experience, learn, change and
protect.
To be resilient
Is to keep going.
One foot in front of the other.

So, we return to the same orders but this time
I am brave
And
I am resilient.

One foot in front of the other.

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