Heartbroken: You just accept that this and so much of the past year-plus was awful, and you get through it. Feel sad. Do something nice for yourselves. If it’s not too soon or too small a consolation, start planning new things to look forward to. It may not be a wedding anymore, but it can be a celebration of life in some other form. Plan more than one. Think of one small way to celebrate every day.
You can also find a safe someone to complain to, like you did here, and dump it out. I did that at the beginning of the pandemic with my dad and sisters on our running family group text, which we started up in March 2020 to help keep us grounded and which we maintain to this day. I whined for several detailed paragraphs about the cancellation of something that was plainly trivial relative to everything else going on, but very important to me. They did the same with their can't-say-this-elsewhere grievances.
So for “Heartbroken” and anyone else still subject to waves of disappointment for things lost: Find your people who understand that it’s possible to feel fortunate and still sad enough to want to be heard, then unburden yourself. Not open-endedly — since dwelling makes us feel worse — but for now, to help you make sense of it.
Readers' thoughts on unburdening:
· I vent all the time to myself. Write it all down, get the poison out on paper or screen, file it, repeat as necessary. It works for me, I feel better and it doesn’t burden anyone else.
· Go to the daily Hax column on washingtonpost.com and vent in the comments. Tell us all about it. We will reply with virtual ((hugs)) and whatever other support we can offer. Just note upfront that it’s Off Topic and vent as needed.
· I tend toward social isolation and found myself becoming the stereotypical angry White male a few years ago. I said I have to do something about this. I tried various things, but the most successful was reconnecting with my faith community, which I had walked away from years before. In my opinion, it’s okay to do that even if you don’t have faith — it’s a preestablished community that is there for you. Go for the community, maybe you will find faith, maybe not. But in the process, you will ease your isolation and find that you have many new acquaintances and maybe even a few friends. Give it a try. Or something else. We all need one another.
CH: Yes, we do. Thank you all for the suggestions.