I know we all are carrying some type of burden during this coronavirus pandemic. We are worried about our family's health and the country's economy. Lack of supplies, hospitals, preventative measures, quarantines, closing, hoarding, supporting local businesses, stimulus packages, mayors, governors, POTUS, demand our attention.
For me, this journey became "real" after I watched a video from Italy of military vehicles carrying the bodies of the deceased. So many lives taken by this virus and then carried away in a camouflaged hearse. While this tragedy unfolded overseas, the virus was planning its attach on the United States.
It is here and it is spreading - fast! We spent days trying to flatten the curve, and from what I can see, the curve is now off the charts in many of our cities. And, we are just getting started. While I can easily overthink these devastating facts, I find my mind wondering and focusing on other facts that don't own any rights to the ticker on the bottom of our television screen.
The woman lying alone on her death bed. The family members who cannot hold her hand and guide her towards heaven's gates. Then, many of those family members will not be able to attend a funeral and will mourn alone.
Think about it. Six feet of social distancing steals hugs of comfort. Quarantines and lack of common groceries keep the casseroles away. Less than 10 people in a room (and even tougher mandates in many states) leaves funeral homes vacant. Those left behind to pick up the pieces are bending alone.
For those of us who have dealt with a significant, unexpected loss know that being alone is the worst possible outcome after the loss of a loved one. Without a hand to hold after such a sudden loss, how is it possible to make it through the day? How can we comfort them from afar?
We come together and mobilize our talents of sympathy and compassion. We become creative during our temporary new normal. We practice virtual hugs on Facebook by leaving a comment*. We FaceTime, we text, we call. We flood them with virtual love. We call PizzaHut to deliver a pizza, we send thoughtful gifts and cards, we love them as much as we can. Most important, we don't get consumed by the "what if" to forget about their certainty. Nothing should cast a shadow over grief.
So I ask that those reading this blog to find a way to virtually hold someone's hand as they walk down the road of grief until the crisis is over and hugs are allowed.
The best resource I can find is the HEALGRIEF.ORG website with an interactive map of the US and resources available within each state.
*Instead of "sorry for your loss" try...
I know how much your (name) will be missed.
I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your sweet (name). I know how much you will miss him/her.
I wish I could be there to give you a hug. I'm so sorry.
I know this is such a tough time for you as you were so close to (name). I'm so sorry for such a difficult loss.