Experiencing the emotion ‘grief’ from death is a natural reaction for humans. No matter if it’s the death of a loved one, an acquaintance, or a co-worker, the sorrow of the loss of life is deep.
I chose this topic as more than ever given the pandemic the passage of life is minimally noted. It is sparse. Pre pandemic there was sharing, hugs support, comfort, meal sharing bolstering each other. Assuring the dying individuals’ words of love, intimate, meaningful kind. Then a coming together of those left behind -the funeral a celebration honoring and praying.
At present no visitors in hospitals, no loved ones present at the hospital bedside, no hugs, kind words. The nurses don’t know your favorite music you might wish was playing as life slips away. A favorite of mine is C.P.Cavafy’s poem ‘Ithaca’, recited by Sir Sean Connery and with music specially composed by Vangelis. Others enjoy hearing the “Ave Maria” sang. If you don’t already know the preferences for the enjoyment of an ill person find out and inform the caregivers.
Almost everyone knows of someone who has died from COVID-19. Deaths from other causes have been solo due to this pandemic. Also, those without the deadly virus who are in medical settings like nursing homes and inpatient hospice must go alone.
It has long been known that healing comes from togetherness and virtual funeral services don’t offer much comfort to survivors. Several years ago in this blog I wrote about Death Cafes -started in the UK and growing in NYC at that time.
Silent Grief Remains
The medical literature describes a new phenomenon “the silent epidemic of grief” – with emphasis on “silent.” It stems from an epidemic of pain being experienced by survivors who are made to feel alone in their grief. It is very difficult if not prohibited to connect with others given the pandemic, and who need love and supports more now than ever before.
Sharing with others a loss brings healing as well as comfort to an area inhabited by hurt and pain.