Do I Have the Right to Grieve?

Few of us can look out at the world and what is happening and not be disturbed, angry and scared. These horrors have shone a klieg light on the ineptness and racism of our White House leadership and the inequities and injustices that people of color have long suffered.

Some of us get involved in the protests, some of us educate ourselves more about racism and its dangerous effects, and some of us pray for the well-being of others and our planet. We grieve for those who are hurting from the virus, the economic crisis and the injustice. Most of us self-isolate and wear masks to protect ourselves and others. I grieve for so many people.

But do I have a right to grieve for myself? My life is good. I work from home, I’m healthy, I’m white and I have loving family and friends. I am not an essential worker, who has to put her life on the line to help others; I am not a health care worker risking my life and seeing the loved ones of others die alone; I do not have a family member, who has suffered police violence; I am not broke and worrying about keeping a roof over my head. And I am alone.

I feel blue, in a funk, depressed. I am not suffering as so many others are. I feel guilty about missing my family and friends. I feel guilty about yearning to picnic in the park or go to happy hour. I feel guilty about being so trite.

I keep busy. I do my Zoom interviews for a local TV station with people engaged in solutions for the inequities and injustices of African and Native Americans. I edit and send them to the station, post on YouTube, our website and FB. Few people see them. Am I making any kind of impact at all? I feel sad about that.

I share Zoom cocktails with friends, post stuff on FB, read insightful books like Edward E Baptist’s about slavery and capitalism. I watch documentaries like Black Achievements in America. I zone out on British mystery series.  I meditate. I walk outside with mask in hand for when someone approaches. I cook new things.

And I feel blue, in a funk, depressed.

Am I enjoying a Pity Party? Am I lacking mental strength? Am I being self-centered?

I really don’t know. The only thing I do know is that writing this stuff down has helped. I got this idea during my morning meditation. I thought maybe others were feeling the way I am so I would share my feelings. I’m not sure how fleeting this spark of energy will be.  At the very least I was energized to get past my lapse in exercising to enjoy a walk outside in the middle of writing this. 

I feel better. I’m grateful for that. And, perhaps the answer is to feel grateful for all that I have, which is so much, and to focus on that rather than on what is missing. Sounds like Oprah just dropped into my head and thoughts. Thanks, Oprah.