Missed Opportunities

Lockdown restrictions for Covid-19 have cancelled all public events and holiday travel. I have found it difficult to be positive about the changes in our trajectory.

Let’s start at the beginning; I’m a bridesmaid for my friend who was due to be getting married earlier this year. Firstly, her hen do was cancelled. We were due to be going to Gran Canaria for a long weekend (it was due to be Friday to Monday) in March, it had been booked since September 2019. We were planning our itinerary and outfits on the group chat, we secretly bought the bride a crazy hat personalised with beads, glitter, and pearls to wear on her hen do, we had our suitcases packed. On the Monday before we were due to fly, it was cancelled. We were all gutted but we decided to rearrange something in our local town instead. We’d made a reservation at the brides favourite restaurant, booked a room for karaoke and were going to put money towards a spa treatment for her. And then all of that got cancelled too. And then her wedding got postponed. She and her fiancé had been planning their wedding for nearly two years. I was so sad for them, I can’t imagine how they must have felt.

In October 2019, Sam and I went to our local travel agent and spent 3 hours on a Saturday afternoon booking a once in a lifetime holiday to America. We were going to do a mini southwest tour, in homage of my grandparents who’d done a similar trip soon after they got married. We booked 5 nights in Los Angeles, 3 nights in Las Vegas, and 4 nights in San Francisco. I was so excited to see Hollywood, swim in the Pacific Ocean, get an In-N-Out burger, play on the slots and stay up till 6am in Vegas, shop at ULTA, and see the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset. I’d saved nearly $1200 to take with me and Sam and I had bought matching luggage sets. Two weeks before we were due to fly, it all got cancelled. We haven’t yet managed to move the dates, we’re waiting to hear confirmation from our travel agent that they’ve been able to rebook it for April 2021.

We were due to be moving to London in April. We had an estate agent looking for the perfect place for us to rent, our house in Dorset was due to go on the market any moment, we both had interviews with really exciting employers lined up, and then lockdown happened. The search for a place in London was cancelled, the house sale was cancelled, my job interview was cancelled.

It was really, really difficult to feel positive about life when we weren’t able to be living it.

There was one day recently that all of this took its toll on me and I felt awful. I just couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed. I cried for about an hour, Sam tried to get me out of bed around 10:00am but I just didn’t want to. I was grieving for the loss of all the amazing things we’d been anticipating for months. It was shit. I was so overwhelmed that everything had been cancelled and I couldn’t have my Mum to console me about it. I felt crushed that day. I covered my face and hid in bed with the cat, I sobbed on Sam and I didn’t eat anything. I felt defeated, like I had when Mum passed away. All those feelings surfaced again. Those grief feelings are accelerated by the opportunities that are now missed with my Mum. She won’t see mine and Sam’s first home, she won’t be able to come to our wedding or meet children we might have, she’ll never be able to come on holiday with me, she can’t just pop round on a Sunday morning.

People have been through huge losses in the recent months. People have suffered the death of a loved one, the ability to be in each other’s company, they’ve not been given the chance to say goodbye to someone who’s dying, or been able to attend their funeral. And then there’s everything else on top. The things that make the sad stuff a little less sad, like seeing your favourite band, going on holiday, or spending a Saturday afternoon at the pub with your mates. But everyone’s lost that too. It’s okay to feel rubbish, sad, and grieve for events or opportunities that you’ve not been able to attend or achieve.

I find that long as I can see the positive, then I can let myself feel sad for as long as I need to. Seeing the positives isn’t about being a ray of sunshine 24/7 and never having a bad moment. It’s appreciating that it feels rubbish at the time and allowing yourself to feel those feelings, but having faith that you will feel better about it at some point and you’ll be able to do those things one day.

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