How do you deal with the loss? Not just the loss of a loved one who has filled your life and haunts your dreams – we all face this at one point or another, and we struggle with a helping hand, a offered shoulder, a sharing of the burden. . Either you come out on the other side and continue, or you don’t; Either let it overcome you or you persevere. It’s an experience as common as sunrise, as painful as amputation, as nostalgic as memory, as universal as breathing, but that, in a way, seems different, how to deal with the loss of icons , social norms, of a world so familiar that its disappearance seems disorienting and just plain wrong? Daily life is like this now. Beloved faces have vanished from our sockets, some by death, some by the estrangement that this pandemic demands. Our worlds are small, limited to home and home. Our circles have shrunk to coin-sized spheres, bounded by windows and walls, and the closest ones that are not sick. Those who are sick are beyond our reach, even for a farewell hug. protests, violence, deception, unreliable governments and unsympathetic politicians – making our forays into the outside world gruesome enough to bring us back inside, into our cocoons. A presidential campaign as a source of division, rage and brutality as anyone in living memory burns families in internal alienation. An angry, hostile, unrecognizable national atmosphere offers no comfort; instead, it shocks with a slap like opening a door in Dante’s Hell.Some struggle with hunger, eviction, job loss, uninsured illness, lifelong disabilities caused by COVID, death. Others, in addition to everything else, still face the age-old and weary reality of racial injustice, a kind of pre-COVID virus that has always made leaving home risky for some. Forest fires are rampant so that our wild places and entire cities are vanished in the blink of an eye. Century-old storms hit our shores in what seems like once a week, flooding and pounding as Mother Nature unleashes her fury at the way we treat her. (If only we could coordinate the torrential rains to put out the forest fires…) Add to that the passing of those who inspired – Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Lewis, Chadwick Boseman – and those who served – medical professionals, first responders – and there doesn’t seem to be an end to the heartbreak and despair. No matter what your race, your gender, your age, your political affiliation, your religion, your financial situation – each of our Americas, each of our little worlds, is dark and unrecognizable. So how do you survive? How do we persist? How to emerge uninterrupted, without bitterness, strong? We can discuss who is responsible for our national situation. We can blame and call for retribution – and eventually we probably will, it’s human nature. We can point fingers and demand revenge. We can assess and rebuild, reflect on what went wrong, and try to better prepare ourselves for such future times. But it’s for tomorrow, today we’re fighting. We share. We elevate. Today, we are looking for common ground. We suffer together, despite the quarantines, so we must survive together. We recognize that this planet, in the grip of present pain, is the only vessel we have to inhabit, and that the death of one creature diminishes the life of all. So we reach out. We embolden the best angels in our nature and stifle those impulses that pit us against each other. We examine our souls to see what is right, what really matters, what is gold and what is slag. Then we act, we look in the shadows to see who endures silently, in the darkness, so that we can lean in, reach out. We look for gaps that we are able to fill and intervene without hesitation. We rise up, all humans, and love each other on a scale never seen before, for it has never been so critical. We remove the blinders, shift the prejudices of the past, reject lethargy and welcome challenges – for this is our only path. We recognize that overcoming what we face today will shape and make possible a world in which we rejoice tomorrow. COVID-19, global warming, tyranny, and division – these are all symptoms of the deeper diseases that threaten our planet: the diseases of ignorance, “otherness” and narrow-mindedness. But joy can come in the morning, after this long night of pain, if we walk through this labyrinth together, enlightening each other. The return of violence for violence multiplies violence, adding a deeper darkness to an already starless night. Darkness cannot come out of darkness; only light can do it. Hatred cannot drive out hatred; only love can do it. These are the words of Martin Luther King, over half a century old. We must remember this. We will right the wrongs and undo the damage when a bright future replaces this living nightmare. For now, we have to love. Everyone. Because everyone is suffering, and everyone deserves what humans are uniquely qualified to give. Today we demand that we reject all excuses for being less than what we can be; today demands that we stretch out to adapt to the times, to recognize our pettiness for the evasion that it is, to rise above it. We have to care about it, with our whole being, because there is no other way. And we have to resolve that as we have all shared the agony, we all have to share the joy that comes in the morning. We have to see it. It will be the reward of perseverance – a better country, born out of this baptism of fire, or else the purifying flames are wasted. As new shoots line the wildfire desolation, new trees will grow as a result of the blaze. We have to push back, after that, our burn. And we go. Because We Can. Ellen McDaniel-Weissler is a freelance writer from LaVale. His column appears in the Times-News every other weekend. .