Pervasive grief is one of the side effects of the uncontrolled pandemic we currently face. People are trying to stay safe and to make sense of what is going on around them. The sheer numbers are beyond comprehension. So, like many others much of my recent reading and writing has circled back to the process of grieving. Perhaps it is the change of seasons, leading me to focus on the seasons that humans pass through. Or, perhaps, it is that my friends who are steeped in organized religion have been talking and writing about Holy Week. Most likely, though, it’s because a dear friend of mine recently lost a long battle with a non-Covid illness.
She died as she lived — with grace and good humor. And this wretched disease kept many of us from being able to support her or her family for fear of incapacitating them by passing along this voracious virus.
I am starting to understand the importance of ritual and gathering as a step in the grieving process. And, as I start to try to generalize my experience to that of thousands of others around the world, my heart breaks for them.
But it’s not just funerals. Passover seders and Easter egg hunts. St Patrick’s day parades. Shrimp festival. Birthday parties. Going out for coffee. Volunteer gigs. Baseball. Rituals are designed to ground and connect us. To give us hope. The absence of ritual contributes to the chaos.
I have only questions at this point— the best I can do is open the conversation. (Please add your observations in the comment section below.)
Here is what some others have to offer on the grieving process.
I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death. ~ Robert Fulghum
Grief is a process, not a state. ~ Anne Grant
There is no grief like the grief that does not speak. ~ Henry Wadsworth LongfellowThere is no grief like the grief that does not speak Click To Tweet
The five stages – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance – are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief. ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief… For a time I rest in the grace of the world and am free. ~ Wendell Berry
Grief can’t be shared. Everyone carries it alone. His own burden in his own way. ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh