I was listening to an episode from one of my favorite podcasts, The Inside Flap, this afternoon when I heard the co-host describe herself as wobbly. Wobbly is not a word we often use to describe ourselves; usually it refers to a broken or unstable piece of furniture or Humpty Dumpty as he sat upon that stone wall. But I immediately knew what she meant. In fact, it seems like almost the perfect word to describe how many of us are feeling in this new and surreal world of quarantine. Laura went on to describe moments of welling up with tears out of the blue, and the overwhelming sadness of waking up each morning to the sameness of the day before.
As I listened, I thought to myself that “wobbly” is how I felt in the days and weeks after the suicide of my close friend, Karen, when I was 34. And after the sudden death of my Dad in 2009. And again last year, after losing my Mom. Wobbly is how you feel when you’re not sure if you’re going to fall and break, or if you’re already broken, and only precariously balanced.
Lots of us are talking about our anxiety, worry, stress, and fear. But wobbly sounds a lot more like grief. And even though many of us haven’t yet lost a loved one to COVID, we ALL have lost so many loved things. Things like recess with friends, spring dances, senior proms, college visits, graduations, workplace lunches, basketball tournaments, soccer games, baseball’s opening day, spring break trips, birthday celebrations, in-person happy hours, movie dates, end-of-year performances, playground playdates, neighborhood block parties, and so many more.
Loss leads to grief. I am grieving. Laura is grieving. You are grieving. And we are all a little wobbly. Both physically and emotionally. Grief takes a toll on your body as well as on your heart and mind. Grief makes us ache inside and out. It’s true that we are adjusting to life on Zoom, and in masks, and at a six-foot distance. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t pining to be in one place at the same time, smiling, and hugging. We miss our lives. We are all wobbly. It’s okay to grieve.