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Mourning Rituals During COVID

My heart goes out to those who are losing people during this pandemic, enduring the absence of final goodbyes at hospitals and the rituals of friends at funerals.

We need mourning rituals. They help us feel love. They help us cope. They help us manage the array of emotions that rain down on us like a meteor shower.Funeral1

And the coronavirus has been interrupting our normal practice of them. We cannot hold vigil at hospital beds, and we cannot gather in large numbers at funerals.

The family unit is critical at a time like this. It’s within the family unit and within the confines of our homes that ritual still is taking place.

Last week, I went to my first COVID-19 funeral, attended primarily by masked family members. My husband’s Uncle Johnny died at home after a long battle with a lung disease. He was 76.

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Getting Through a Crisis

The drama unfolded at Memphis International Airport inside the compact Honda Civic I’d owned for seven years.

I shut the door, and with the windows rolled up against the July heat, I opened my mouth and screamed. I screamed as loud as I had ever screamed.

lonely woman crying with closed eyes

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

The man I loved, the one waiting for a plane, no longer wanted me. I had thought he was the one. He decided someone else was the one. She, too, had been at the airport. I screamed to release a wad of pain lodged in my gut.

The year was 2007. To add insult to injury, the event occurred a year and a week after my daddy’s death. Grief on top of grief.

What happened next illustrates an essential aspect of getting through a crisis, surviving something that rips out your heart.

What I did then I try to do anytime I lose something or someone important to me.

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