“I think at this point, I would consider myself a professional in mourning of what wasn’t. I have had a TON of curveballs thrown my way in life. I ditched my college soccer scholarship last minute, I got pregnant a month after turning 21, I had to have a c-section, I am living through a deployment, I decided to get married months before said deployment, I moved in with family again (thanks deployment) after being on my own for five years, and I am now, like everyone, surviving a pandemic.
You could say I am a seasoned professional at learning how to adapt to unforeseen circumstances. Every single one of those situations brought a screeching halt to what I had planned ahead. Things I was looking forward to, things I had always dreamed WOULD be, things I so horribly wanted a certain way.
My heart absolutely aches for people right now in various ways. But right now, I want to specifically talk about the people who are grieving over what was not because this, among everything else, matters too. The people who lost their senior season, the people who have had to cancel trips that have been planned long ago, the people who have had to reschedule their weddings, the people who did not go to prom, the people who had to cancel their baby showers, the people who won’t see their son or daughter walk across that graduation stage, the people who are missing out on their 21st birthday bashes, the people who thought their whole family would be able to meet their newborn baby, the people who had to sit at home alone on Easter instead of gathering with family, the people who were robbed a college semester (it goes by fast enough as is), the people who have had their concerts they love so dearly canceled, the people who live for professional sports, the people who had planned a military homecoming for the last 8 months, the people who imagined 2020 to be THEIR year — I absolutely see you. You have every right to be angry, complain and even cry about the situation. You are allowed to grieve over the loss of what did not and could not happen.
People envision, plan and are excited for these life moments. It may seem silly to some that a senior is crying over their prom not happening because in the grand scheme of things, it is ‘not a big deal’ compared to someone laying alone in a hospital bed fighting the virus. We all know it is necessary to have these events, such as prom, canceled for the well being of everyone.
What is also necessary, though, is to allow these people to feel upset about their life goals, dreams, and plans being stopped in their tracks.
These people have the right to voice their heartache over events that never did happen.
They are allowed to have these feelings.
They should feel validated in their sorrow instead of compared to worse because they are all aware there is worse.
What is also important to understand about unforeseen circumstances is how you overcome them. Validate your feelings of sadness and decide how you will move up from here. I have started to see this in forms across the internet, from brides changing their huge wedding down to a backyard wedding, raving about how romantic the intimacy was, to a town lighting porches as a tribute to seniors, to videos being made showcasing prom attendees in their beautiful dresses at home, to Zoom gender reveal parties. These are our ‘what do we do now?’ moments.
A community should lift one another up, I see us doing that. Let us continue to do that. Keep doing the drive-by parades on birthdays, send flowers to your graduate, send a lengthy wedding card to the newlyweds, DoorDash a warm meal to the family with the newborn you have yet to meet (I’m sure this would be much appreciated). If your teammate missed out on their senior season, leave them their senior night gift on their porch (I still have the blanket my girls made me), plan with your best friend their perfect 21st for when we are all out of quarantine, and most importantly, be kind when you can because life is fragile and we need one another especially right now.
To all the people mourning the loss of life goals, dreams, and memories — I see you, I feel for you, and I offer my condolences to what was not. I am sorry for you.
From here, let us focus on how to positively solve ‘what now?’ for those who need it.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jessica Edmisten, 23, of Ohio. You can follow her journey on Instagram here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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