My dear sweet daughter,
I am so sorry that you have had to endure so much loss.
I know that you’re going to be okay and that you’ll look back on this time and remember how hard it was, and how you didn’t think you’d get past it, and how you lost out on some of the innocence of your childhood, as well as the vision of the future you were working so hard to create.
I am so sad to watch you grieve your lost opportunities, experiences, connections, memories, and milestones.
I cry with you as I hold you when you share with me yet another dream that you’ve had to let go of because of Covid.
I feel your pain, and I know I can’t take it away.
All I can do is hold you, join you in your sadness, honor your losses, and remind you that the world will keep spinning.
I also know that it’s important for you to know how to just sit with pain, because unfortunately, there will be more painful experiences in your life.
I know that you are grateful for your health, your family, your friends, and a happy home to be sheltering in. I know that you don’t take any of that for granted and that it’s also not the thing to make you feel better right now.
And while gratitude can be an antidote to your anger or sadness, I also know that there is a time and place to focus on gratitude. Right now is not that time.
Right now, I think the appropriate thing to do is feel all the feels and not jump to the silver lining that will emerge from this storm (even though there will be one).
I have the life experience to know that you will be okay and that this too shall pass. I have the embodied knowledge to know that we grow from our pain and grief, and that we often come out on the other side better for it.
But it’s hard to see that right now, and I don’t want to rush you to that conclusion. You will get there on your own and in your own time.
So right now, let’s just be sad.
What you’ve lost is real. There is no need to compare to anyone else’s suffering or think that because others have it worse, that you can’t or shouldn’t feel bad about what is happening to you.
This experience is yours, so feel it, without apology.
As you know, I am so passionate in teaching you, and others, to be present, to have non-attachment to the outcome, and that expectations are the fastest path to suffering. I still believe all that to be true…and…
Who would have ever thought that a plan of summer camp, or an abroad program, or a youth group get together, or even being able to finish school this Spring would have been something you couldn’t count on?
I don’t think it’s unreasonable that you should have had non-attachment to those things; they’ve been the glue that has held your life together. These are the things that not only have been predictable, but that keeps you going, from one season to the next.
But let me tell you this dear daughter…you will come through this stronger, with more conviction and more resolve to make this world a better place. You’ve already started on that trajectory, and no one, not even a worldwide pandemic, can take that away from you.
Covid can ruin your plans, but it can’t ruin the dreams that you and only you are in charge of.
Covid can’t take away your passion for people, for connecting with others, for believing in standing up for what you believe in, for wanting to make change and make a difference.
Covid can’t take away your creativity and ability to think large and plan in a way that is well beyond your years.
And remember, you’re not alone.
You have an entire world of peers that feel you and know the feelings of loss, sadness and hopelessness that you are experiencing right now in this moment.
And so right now when it feels that the world is crumbling at your feet, and all that you’ve known to be true is uncertain, find comfort in what’s going to be rebuilt. And the good news is that you get to be part of it.
Change is never easy. It sucks, it’s hard and it’s confusing. And…it’s also the most constant thing.
You will not just survive this, you will thrive.
The world needs you. We need your passion and creativity and maturity and inclusivity.
We need your planning and your ability to see the big picture because you can — and will — make a difference.
Life will not go back to the way it was, and perhaps that’s okay. Normalcy is a mere perception of safety, security and control. And while the future can feel scary, it can also be awesome because in the unknown lies possibility.
So let’s bid farewell to the expectations and attachments to how things were, and let’s be here to welcome the unknown in what you get to create.
And after this great pause, my hope is that you will resume your life with more intention, more appreciation for the little things, and be in greater alignment of who you are and what’s important to you.
All this will come in its due time. So for now, let’s sit together, cry as I hold you, feel all the feels, and just be.
Know that I love you more than anyone, and I support you every step of the way.