“True self is non-self, the awareness that the self is made only of non-self elements. There’s no separation between self and other, and everything is interconnected.”-Thich Nhat Hanh
Loss is a point where we realize that, despite our penchant for independence, we are massively interconnected. Life becomes drastically different when one person is missing from it. Grief is the ripping open of interconnectedness, and it is the gradual healing of that wound.
We live on a delicate spider web, through which we touch everyone and everything. One loss will have a effect on those immediately surrounding the torn strand. Multiple losses shred the spider web almost to tatters, making it vulnerable to the slightest breeze that threatens to blow it away.
In isolation, interconnectedness seems non-existent. We forget about our relationships, our community encounters, our normal daily exchanges with people who flutter in and out of our world. We can easily allow our individual and independent needs to take over, control our thoughts, and actions. We begin to forget our interconnection. We forget that we must cooperate to move forward. We forget the repercussions our behavior has on the world, on people we will never meet. We forget that we have a responsibility to care for and protect those with whom we share connections, whether family, service providers, or people we encounter in passing.
The pandemic losses we experience may not be felt deeply by the community…yet. In time, we will feel reverberations from where our tattered web hangs open, fragile, helpless, and vulnerable. Healing that gaping wound will take time, patience, compassion and love. We will need to be there to support people we never met and mourn those we never knew existed.
Remember our non-self, our interconnection. Everyone is us and we are everyone. Act with this interconnection firmly in mind.