Most of us haven’t been taught to grieve. Yet, COVID is making it impossible to escape grief.
It shows itself in news feeds, social media posts, vacant shop windows, and in the worried voices and anxious expressions of our loved ones. Moment-by-moment, we are experiencing grief.
Most of us are ill equipped to navigate this emotional landscape. Modern Western culture, including psychology, has not provided an adequate understanding of the human experience of grief. Instead of viewing it as a natural and normal experience, we are taught steps, stages, and terms aimed at quickly finishing the ‘work’ called grief.
Recent history provides insight as to why we struggle to grieve. Patrick O’Malley’s book Getting Grief Right offers an in depth discussion of the topic. He writes that prior to the Industrial Revolution, communities offered space, time, and support for those who mourned. …
During crisis connecting with family is normal. As a species, humans are biologically wired to reach out, to talk, and to gather when there is distress and fear. Although the advice to practice social distancing is warranted during Coronavirus, there remains an inborn desire to connect.
For some, reaching out to loved ones during Coronavirus is not an option. Those who are estranged from immediate or extended family may experience this current crisis as extra stressful.
According to Stand Alone, a UK charity dedicated to providing support for those experiencing estranged relationships, estrangement is “the breakdown of a supportive relationship between family members.” …
I didn’t used to be good at saying ‘no.’ It wasn’t that I was terrible at it but I said it much more than I truly wanted.
More often than not, I said ‘yes’ to an extra family or friend’s social event or to the advice of someone I thought knew more. I tended to dodge conflict or half heartedly comply or paraphrase with ‘if that’s okay with you.’ I said yes in direct and indirect ways.
Then my husband of twenty years got sick. It wasn’t a physical illness, which sometimes is an acceptable answer when declining invitations. …