Grief Acknowledged: An Open Letter to My Colleagues
By Jessy Polzer |
‘Colleagues’ seems a cold word, don’t you think, for what we’ve gone through together? I don’t commonly prefer military metaphors, but perhaps my ‘fellow soldiers’ hits a bit closer on the nose. It sure feels like a war on the soul. A long march, indeed.
I saw you put your brave face on, though I knew you were wrecked.
Your desperate weariness has flashed across my screen. You didn’t mean to show it, but we’re long past filtered niceties.
You’re logging hours late at night, so your kid can use the only household computer during their school day.
I saw you disappear for a day, or two, or five, burying loved one after loved one.
You have thrown in the towel and come back to the table, time and again.
We get to participate in the most exciting work of our time, regularly equipping ‘front-line’ educators. The world’s current circumstances have only accelerated our potential to increase justice and equity through online education.
But for a moment, I just pause to honor your humanity . . . and mine.
We’re spread across continents, but your grief is my grief. Your loss has been my loss. And you’ve carried my burdens with me.
I saw you laugh when we’re long past what seems laughable.
You did hard and said painful things to create pockets of safe space for everyone.
I bore witness to your proverbial ‘dance in the rain’ as you located joy in every troublesome circumstance. You had to look pretty hard sometimes.
I’ve seen you take all of your struggle, grief, and loss, transforming it into empathy for each client on the other side of your screen and each learner on the other end of your design. You know they just lost a job and were forced to uproot their family when they couldn’t make rent, or they’re passing around one computer amongst five siblings, and likely they’ve lost loved ones while trying to stay on top of life.
The world is navigating the most widespread experience of collective grief in a memorable time, from which we’ll be picking each other up for decades. It’s my privilege to grieve collectively, love, and work alongside you—my Construct family.
As always, my ‘Zoom’ door is open. I’ll bring the coffee.
Grief is a natural part of any loss or change. Many modern cultures reserve acknowledgments of grief for experiences related to the death of close loved ones. However, grief is a legitimate response to losing a relationship through causes other than death, losing our health, our autonomy, or a dream we cherish, or in response to any changes to relationships, home, work, routine, or responsibilities.
Grief is normal. Everyone’s journey through grief is different and deeply personal. The only rule to grief seems to be that it can’t be skipped over.
As our shutdown anniversary approaches, Construct is pausing a moment to acknowledge our collective grief and provide support for our internal family, just as we work hard to ultimately provide safe spaces to the clients and learners we serve.
Jessy Polzer Head of Partner Success at Construct