The headlines, if you could see them, were about how there was a major outage across the land that rendered useless cell phones and television! How does this happen and where does it leave us when it does happen? Did you have a moment of panic? Did you go through the grief in a way that you can now better understand it? This past week’s outage gives us a tangible way to better understand ourselves. Let’s look at that!
I woke up on this day, the day the world seemed dark, and looked at my phone. There it was in the top right corner the WIFI icon and yet beside it was some dots and the phone message read, “cannot connect to the internet”. Before I had even lifted my butt from the bed, I knew there was something amiss. Something was off.
Feeling: denial. When we cannot believe something has happened. The shock and surprise create in us the inability to believe, so we question. How can this be? This cannot have happened. I got up and went into the living room and looked at the modem and it was flashing orange. Hmmm confirmation something was not right. Feeling: anger. No way! I cannot watch my morning show! This is an outrage! What to do next. Where to turn and who do I yell at? Should I call someone and complain? Feeling: bargaining. Wait! I will turn off the WIFI on my phone and just use my data. There, WIFI off. Wait! It’s not working either … return to denial and anger. Emotions rotating through my body.
I put the phone down and take a breath and decide I will make some coffee and ponder this challenge. Something I take for granted and a piece of my life that is always there is just gone. Without notice and without any chance to prepare. I plug in the kettle and wait for the water to come to a boil and ponder. What do I do next? I pace the kitchen floor and listening to the kettle heat up the water. Feelings: shock, denial, wonder and the anger works its way into sadness and depression. I feel a sense of sadness that I cannot watch my morning show. The routine of my life has been altered and, while not just altered, I feel shocked into change. A wave of apathy takes me over and like someone has poured warm oil over me and as it slowly runs its way over my body, I think of all the things affected by this loss. I cannot check my bank balances, do I need cash at the store, and how will I connect with the outside world? Feeling: Confusion and lack of direction overtakes me. I feel challenged even making coffee.
As the morning wears on and I get myself moving. I eat, shower and get dressed and many of the routine things from my day begin to unfold. I can do this. I am moving like a sloth through molasses. Slowly and carefully stepping my way into this world I no longer know. I habitually reach for my phone, the remote, the computer, only to remember in a tidal wave of reality, there is no internet/cable/WIFI. What is life without internet and cable? Sounds silly however they have infiltrated every part of daily life. The denial, shock, and apathy begin to morph into reality, and I think to myself, “what CAN I do?” I pick up my knitting and I make a cup of tea. Feeling: Acceptance I must go on and figure this out. It will be okay!
And 24 hours later slowly the world comes back online. My life takes back a semblance of normal and I realize there were people unaffected by this outage, this death, and they are oblivious to me and my emotional roller coaster.
This may sound like an unusual way to look at the technological disruption we had last week, however it is an excellent way to look at how we manage any loss in our life using an event that is detached from our heart. We can see how we process every loss using our feelings and our moments of change. Dissecting this event will give you courage and strength to meet the other losses in your life. The losses that are harder on the heart and the spirit. The loss of a mother, grandmother, uncle, pet or sibling. The loss of a father to dementia and the world of cognitive chaos. The breakdown of a marriage, an argument with a bestie or moving out of a job either by choice or by termination. Each day we have losses we must deal with and when we understand the emotional process, we can navigate easier.
What did I do? I had an Anne of Green Gables marathon, watching the DVD’s that are collecting dust on my shelf. I was reminded of a time when phones were unborn, doctors showed up via horse and buggy, and Canada had not yet been signed, sealed and delivered. I watched as Anne looked for kindred spirits and dreamed of sleeping in a cherry tree at the train station waiting to be picked up. I was taken back into the imagination of window friends and church picnics.
While this technological disruption pushed us through the grieving process it is a reminder of simpler things in life that are so important and how with nary a moment’s notice life can change direction. Are you equipped by knowing the feelings and the process? It helps to be prepared emotionally, actually more important than physically, what is in your emotional emergency kit?