Rev. Dr. Chuck Moffett
The numbers are staggering!
As of March 25, 2021 (the day when I am writing this article):
- 545,623 = number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States.
- 2.75 Million = number of COVID-19 deaths worldwide.
Each of those deaths represents an incomprehensible number of family members, relatives, friends, acquaintances devastated by sorrow and grief. In a majority of cases, the grief is intensified by the reality that the family could not be present at the time of death – their loved-one died alone. In addition, due to COVID protocols, the family has been denied the possibility of gathering for the healing support of a Memorial Service or ritual.
Those types of grief we all have experienced in some way. Those are “accepted” griefs.
A recent New York Times article by Tara Parker-Pope prodded me to be in touch with other types of grief people have expressed to me – what Parker-Pope calls “disenfranchised grief.”
What often is overlooked are the “lesser” losses experienced during the pandemic: a job and income, a semester at school, an anticipated graduation or a marriage celebration, a family reunion, a terminated volunteer position, a cancelled trip.
People who quietly suffer these losses often apologize for their feelings: “I can’t complain about my grief, because so many have it so much worse,”“I know I should count my blessings,”“I don’t have a right to grieve.”
The title of the article is It’s OK to Mourn, No Matter the Size of a Loss,” in which the author points out we have to correct that thinking. Your grief is your grief. You can’t compare it to other people’s grief.
Grief is real. Grief is natural. Grief hurts. ALL grief is legitimate. I encourage us not to discount our grief, to be open to our own grief; to share our grief with a trusted person; and for each of us to be open to the grief in those around us.
I offer my support to any of you in whatever is your grief. I offer the promise of God, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death (grief), I will fear no evil, for I am with you always.”