By Ted Bowman

From the moment of our birth until this very moment, we have been placing pictures of our lives inside ourselves.

Over time, some pictures take on a template quality that morph into an assumed world. We expect the next day to resemble the previous days.

When disruptive changes occur, re-storying our lives is required.

In late February 2020, the assumed worlds of most of us were disrupted by news of a spreading virus. We were asked and chose to alter routine practices, long embedded into daily life.

Now, 18 months later, many yearn for a return to the normalcy of their known worlds.

Early in my career as a grief and family educator, I was taught by wise grievers that when an assumed world is shattered, one must grieve that shattered dream as a necessary step toward re-authoring lives and creating an adapted story.

Coping, I learned, involves grieving loss of the assumed world as one discerns what of the past can be taken into the next world AND what must be discarded or adapted for embracing and coping with what is next.

One may have to go so far as to reintroduce oneself to oneself and those in their circle of care. The oft-traveled employee now spends more time working from home. The family that met in person once a year now meets once a month via Zoom. Some restaurants now presume takeout will be a major part of their continuing service.

Each of these and more may contain losses for what was, even while embracing the now altered story. Remind yourself, this process will be easier for some; a major challenge for others.

Pause, look back, grieve losses and engage with tender curiosity what the new you will be like, a picture you can author and share with others. 

Ted Bowman, who lives in St. Anthony Park, is an independent grief and family educator.

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