Second Installment of “Conversations in Grief” Blog Released
“Conversations in Grief” is a new blog created by Rainbow Hospice Care Bereavement Counselors Hilary Furnish and Laura Wessels. Furnish and Wessels chose this title intentionally to invite conversation and response as they reflect on various aspects of grief. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, their thoughts will initially focus on COVID grief. They are eager to hear your helpful and unique thoughts in response. Furnish and Wessels are also available for individual bereavement counseling. Contact them by calling Rainbow Hospice Care at 920-674-6255.
The most empowering statement I have heard during the COVID-19 crisis is this, “The worst grief is the one that is happening to you right now.” (Kenneth Doka, Senior Bereavement Consultant for Hospice Foundation of America).
We have a tendency to rank grief and loss. We think we get to decide whose loss is the worst. We end up minimizing grief and we take away from others or even ourselves, the right to grieve.
Last year, as I was finishing up my seminary degree and looking for employment, my heart was set on a particular job. My phone interview had been completed and I had already been promised an in-person interview. Instead, I received a phone call telling me the position had been filled and they were no longer interested in me. When I shared the news with my supervisor, I said, “I’m okay.” He responded with wisdom, “You don’t have to be okay.” He invited, even encouraged me to be present to the pain of my disappointment. He gave me permission to grieve for the loss of this job.
During this COVID-19 pandemic, I have encountered the perspective that the quarantine doesn’t compare to surviving a World War or the Great Depression. I have heard the opinion that it’s not that big of a deal for high school and college seniors to have lost the closing months of their final year of school.
Someone observed, “When we grieve, we want the world to stop.” For those who are grieving their worst loss right now, they get to grieve and they need the world to stop. A mother of a high school senior explained about her senior and about herself, “We’ve got to be able to feel what we feel.” Another woman who is grieving for her husband and missing her children and grandchildren during the COVID-19 isolation, stated, “Not anyone else is doing exactly what I’m doing right now.” Simply summed up: we don’t know what it’s like for someone else. We don’t know what their experience of loss is like for them.
I’d like to re-purpose one of the catchphrases of COVID-19, “We’re all in this together.” If this is true, let us join others in their space of loss and grief and feel their pain with them. No judgment. No lectures. No ranking of loss. If we are able to do this, simply be with someone else as they grieve, we then may be able to make a difference.