Loss is part of life, but it can add up over time. We feel like we are keeping up, that we are processing and adapting as we go, continuing to move forward. Sometimes, however, there is a tipping point and it all becomes too much.

Covid has been like that. We are experiencing massive change. We still have many months, maybe even years, before there will be anything that looks like stability. It’s obvious that we are never going back to the way things were. Things are getting rearranged.

In the process, there is a lot of loss. I miss parties and sporting events and family gatherings and dancing to live music. I miss meeting new people. I miss going new places and having new experiences. My work life, promoting my books, has come to a near standstill.  At odd times during any given day, I feel teary. Or fearful, anxious, frozen, or checked out. This is cumulative grief. It’s hard to accept that there is more to come.

Today is my cancer-versary––it’s been seven years since I was diagnosed with two breast cancers. It is a reminder that (1.) things could be worse lol, (2.) each day is a gift, and (3.) you never know what blessings will come out of a life-altering change.

Cancer was a dividing line in my life. There is a Before and an After that balance on that moment. The first years after cancer were difficult, while I adjusted to multiple major changes. I lost my health, my womanly body image, my cognitive function, my job, my income, my career and my home.

But in the redesigning of my life, many things actually improved. Nearly losing my life exposed the spiritual gift of journeying on this planet. Letting go of my body image freed me of cultural constructs about gender and sexuality. A brain injury from chemo took me out of the exhausting work of being a nurse and allowed me to reinvent myself as an author. Losing my home propelled me into the simple life of a cabin in the woods, which I wouldn’t trade now for anything. Who could’ve imagined that seven years after diagnosis I would be saying “Thank you, Cancer”?!

I think Covid is going to be like this. There will be a lot of loss, but in the end we will receive unknown blessings––in the way we run our lives, in the ways we treat each other as humans, in the ways we treat our planet. We need to be open to these gifts.


For more on healing from loss, see my blog posts Cumulative Grief from May 13, 2019:
and Cumulative Grief, part II from May 16, 2019: