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Grief & COVID19: Six Ways To Get Comfort When You Cannot Get a Hug

The coronavirus is messing with the ways we grieve and mourn.

All over the news and all over the country, we’re hearing about social distancing – and funeral services aren’t excluded despite their cultural and emotional importance.

woman wearing mask on train

Photo by Anna Shvets on

In America, funeral directors are staggering events like visitations or wakes to minimize the number of people in a building or room. The government recommends no more than 10 people in a group. Most funerals attract far more.

But mourning rituals aren’t all that’s being impacted by efforts to arrest the spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19. Along with the rest of the population, mourners are quarantining themselves from people outside their households. At a time the touch and personal warmth of another’s presence can be so essential to the grief process, we cannot look to traditional ways of comfort, like a hug.

I feel you. Though I’m nearly 12 years out on my mother’s death, and I don’t seek out hugs anymore, I find myself longing for her. I want my mommy. I want to share the drama with her.

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Broken Crayons Make Beautiful Pictures

Maybe today you feel inadequate as I have so many times. Maybe you feel too broken to measure up to standards set by your spouse, your parents, your career or even yourself.

Maybe you look around and everyone is chuckling. You wear a fake smile, but inside you are wilting. Your soul begs for comfort. For understanding. Yes, I’ve been there, too.

One word dominated my childhood interaction with peers. Inadequacy. I couldn’t measure up to the giggling circle of girls with the perfect hair and the perfect things to say. I felt lack. I didn’t have their social skills. Crayons

The girls also had more crayons than me. My little box of 24 colors in two rows did not measure up. They had boxes of rows and rows of colors, 64 crayons total. 

Adult equivalent: They had a mini-mansion with a game room and pool. I lived in an efficiency apartment with a futon for a bed.

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