Why Are We Still Not Talking About Grief?

“There is a storm coming. There’s something bad out there. With a virus, this kind of grief is so confusing for people. Our primitive mind knows something bad is happening, but you can’t see it. This breaks our sense of safety. We’re feeling that loss of safety…We are grieving on a micro and a macro level,” David Kessler, the world’s foremost expert on grief, told the Harvard Business Review in an interview.

During the months-long lockdown in India, it was an untenable struggle to prove that the show must go on. When I questioned this on my social media, I received several well-meaning lectures. However, I do not want anyone to tell me why the show must go on — I just want to take a minute, a few hours, some days, or maybe even a year to mourn the world falling into pieces around me.

“The show must go on, yeah
Inside my heart is breaking
My makeup may be flaking
But my smile, still, stays on”

This beautiful Queen song doesn’t take into account that many of us are mentally fragile and many have been made fragile in the aftermath of COVID-19. More than 80,000 Indians have lost their lives owing to this pandemic and this need for the show to go on is a pressure that not many can talk about, or handle. Every time I feel like I can’t carry on — and that happens a lot — I feel rushed, I feel judged by these invisible, scrutinising eyes moving me along.

C’mon, jolly along. Get a move on.

“The show must go on!”

It’s like traveling in a crowded train — you have to get on and get off before it leaves the station. But so what if the train leaves the station? You can get off at the next stop or you can get the next train. But in our obsession to make every moment of our lives count, we are forever being rounded up and rushed along. We’re often shamed for not being able to pick up the pieces.

When I learnt about Rajput’s death — the door to my own tsunami opened. I was awash in a grief that was not mine alone anymore, but it was a sum of all the grief I have never allowed myself to feel throughout my life, including the loss of the world as we knew it.

This is one grief I will not be hustled from. I want to stop, wallow, and heal.

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