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Grieving in Isolation

As the Covid-19 quarantine drags on, one thing is clear – we are all collectively grieving.  We lament the loss of our freedom, vacations, jobs, financial stability, sporting events, milestone celebrations, social activities, and missed opportunities, such as holding a newborn grandchild.  We ache for physical touch and long to greet our loved ones with hugs and kisses. Even more acutely, we mourn the loss of beloved family and friends who have died during this time, deprived of the funeral they deserve and keeping us from comfort and closure.    We also grieve the mounting death toll in our communities and our world.

JOHN:  My “grieving in isolation” started in earnest the day we delivered groceries to my sheltering-in-place parents.  We dropped the bags off on the porch and kept an awkward and unnerving distance as they stood inside the open doorway, knowing we could not risk our usual bear hugs. I felt sad when we backed out of the driveway shouting “We Love You!” across their front yard.

JULIE:  I was struggling with the sudden death of my best girlfriend from college when the coronavirus madness hit.  It was as if the rug had been pulled out from under me.  I so desperately wanted to share hugs and time with her family.  I was overwhelmed, completely shutting down at times.  I would lay curled up on the couch, tears streaming down my face as I tried to make sense of it all. 

JOHN:  I wasn’t sure how to help Julie through all of this.  I held her while she cried.  I listened when she needed to talk, but also gave her time alone to get lost in playing music or singing.  I held her hand as we walked around the neighborhood in silence.  I simply tried to be there for her.

JULIE:   John’s attentiveness brought me great comfort. I also learned to not be so hard on myself, allowing myself the freedom to cry when needed and laugh when I can. I felt touched by our kids, family members, and friends reaching out to me from afar.  It’s not the same as hugs, but in this time of quarantine it certainly helps.  Focusing on helping others has also been a soothing balm for my heart.

JOHN:  When our brother-in-law lost his dad a few weeks ago, it was really difficult to not physically be with my sister’s family as they mourned. We sent cards, called often, and texted daily to check in.  We even tried to lighten things up by sending a delivery of their favorite gourmet popcorn. We did what we could to lighten their burden as we all sheltered in place. 

However you are dealing with grief, please know that you are not alone.  For ways to cope, check out


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