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Loss comes in many different forms
Those of us in the UK are experiencing a strange form of loss at the moment. It does not matter whether we are big fans of the monarchy, are ambivalent to a system that makes someone the head of state purely by birth or if we take little notice of day to day events. The Queen has been there for all of our lives and she has always acted in a way that affords the world stopping today to remember her.
We kind of know she is the head of state, but we are acutely aware that our politicians are the ones who decide how the country is run. What we don't consider is the huge influence she has had on the leaders of our country. Despite a recent drop in adherence to our moral norms by Johnson, and likely Truss, there is no doubt that in the minds of the British people she is the ultimate example of what makes us British. This respect travels all around the world and in 2022 there is no person on earth whose death could have such an effect, and that has been true for many years.
For those of us who have known the Queen as our head of state all of our lives, the vast majority of us, it feels like a huge moment and the end of something much greater than the death of one person. It feels as if the one thing that bound us all together through Brexit, the recent invasion of Ukraine, Covid, the financial crisis of 2008 and so many more events has now gone. The Royal Family remains and King Charles will emerge, but for the majority it is the Queen who has kept us all together. She has always been there and is so much more important to us than we ever realised. And we know that now because of the way we feel today, all of the emotions spilling out that are normally only reserved for those of us we know and love well.
My children have now both left home and the sense of loss Joanne and I felt then was acute, and the sense remains because the house is so quiet now (and tidy!) and it feels as if we are entering a new part of our lives. We grew up and got married (part 1), we had children and raised them (part 2) and now we are entering part 3 which is easy to be scared of. Something ended, the most important part of our lives which was to bring up well-rounded children ended and what is left feels wholly unimportant in comparison. It is a genuine sense of loss.
The actual loss of family members such as my father was much harder of course and children leaving home or a 96 year old lady passing away is what should happen. It is unavoidable and you cannot experience joy without understanding that loss is just a part of life. I'm just surprised how much the death of Queen Elizabeth has affected all of us so acutely.