We are in a time of collective grief. It's not that we have all experienced the death of someone we know to the pandemic disease, but we all have small losses, and small losses add up. We have lost our daily routines, our lunches with friends, travel, family reunions, looking forward to things we can count on happening. And parents, teachers, and students are in the middle of not
knowing what in the world they can count on happening as school starts. The stack of losses keeps
growing. And we are grieving.
Pauline Boss, a professor from the University of Minnesota who has written and teaches about loss, says:
The most important thing to remember is that grief is normal if you’ve lost something. And I would wager that everyone could make a list of what they’ve lost during this pandemic — the loss of whatever it is you did before. But we rarely identify it as that, because grief has been pathologized. And because of that, people are afraid to say, “I feel I’m grieving today,” because that means you’re mentally ill. You have a disorder, a grief disorder. In my writings, I make a strong statement that for most people, grief is normal.
She goes on to say that connecting with others, and ritual, are important for getting ourselves through loss. These days connecting with others is more likely to be by phone calls, emails, sharing photos on
Facebook, or paper mail. And ritual is something self-soothing that we do, that we can count on. It is overwhelmingly sad that we cannot be together for religious ritual that would help us through. So we are left to have home rituals – things done the same way on a regular basis that we can count on. Kids really depend on ritual, something that they can count on happening.
I challenge us to add to our rituals something that is connection to others. Do acts of kindness for those you know, and those you don't know. Leave small gifts on porches. Write notes to those you know, and those whom you know are alone. We can help see one another through. And God will smile upon us.
Peace be with you................ Jeannie