The R Word

Flattening the Curve, Hamlin O’Kelley, Ink on Paper, March 20, 2020



I hate that word


“The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness”

From the Latin meaning to leap back, recoil, rebound, jump, leap



Not a comfort during this pandemic

No, we parents aren’t resilient

No, our students aren’t resilient

We are coping

We are dealing

We are putting up with all the stuff

All the fake graduations

All the drive by birthdays, parades, moments

All the videos for birthdays instead of hugs and kisses

All the cancellations

All the postponements

All the disappointments

All the “you got this” crap

And, it’s total crap

In physics, resilience means the capacity of a body to recover its size and shape after compressive stresses

I have not sprung back

It’s gonna be a minute

It’s gonna be years, really

Grief is tough

How about, “I’m sorry”?

How about, “Well, this stinks”?

I would rather have the full grief acknowledged instead of the patronizing back handed compliment of

….. these young people are SO resilient

….. this class is SO resilient

…… these children are SO resilient

…… they’ll make up for it later

…… they have such brighter days ahead

Those are lies

By being told they are resilient, their voices are silenced

They are not allowed to process their emotions if they are resilient because they have already bounced back….see…aren’t we amazing people?

When people die, I write their loved one notes


It’s all I know to do

In those notes, I often quote the shortest verse of the Bible

“Jesus wept.”  John 11:35

Full humanity

Full loss

Weeping for the full pain of his friends Mary and Martha at the loss of their brother and his friend Lazarus

My Lord and Savior did not say

“Better days ahead”

“This too shall pass”

“We’re all in this together”

“Stay safe”

“You got this”

No, Jesus wept

He wept because they wept

He wept for their lack of faith, too

He wept for his own suffering, too

He didn’t tell Mary and Martha that they were resilient and would get over Lazarus dying

No, he wept with them and for them and knowing what faces us all….suffering, grief, pain

The Swedes get it with their proverb, “Shared joy is double joy. Shared sorrow is half sorrow”

Don’t tell me I’m resilient

Don’t tell our children they’re resilient

We’re all in mourning

Let us mourn

If I never hear the word resilient again, it will be o.k.





One thought on “The R Word

  1. So true and not only in regards to this pandemic – why is it that so many people feel the need to dictate how others feel? “Authenticity” has been a buzzword for years now but I guess that only applies to things that are pleasant or edifying; otherwise we must be relentlessly cheerful,optimistic or yes,the aforementioned “r” word. The vicissitudes of life are worthy of their own emotions and the acknowledgement thereof. Thank you for putting it so eloquently!
    Or in today’s vernacular “Thanks for keeping it real!”.

    Liked by 1 person

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