Grieving the Loss of Grieving

I am fortunate. I have had limited times in my life I have needed to grieve and go through the private and public ceremony of loss. My younger brother died by suicide when I was 21. My mother last year from complications of substance abuse. My grandparents after longer lives. In each of those instances, I remember so vividly who was there. I remember distinctly a few words that were so perfect and comforting.

Three weeks ago, a dear friend’s daughter died of an overdose. Impulsively, I wanted to drive to Minnesota and cook something and just show up. Even if I left some home-cooked food and her doorstep and even if it spoiled before she could get it in the refrigerator. But I could not. The following week one of my best friends’ mother died unexpectedly. I just wanted to show up. Give the family I knew as a couple and now with young adult children that I love them. Again—I could not.

Less than two weeks ago, a beloved colleague and her husband were murdered within blocks of their home, leaving three young adult children. There was a video-broadcast service, and though it was a herculean effort by so many, I left it more bereft that I was before.

I am a person of great privilege who has the economic ability to socially distance. I have not lost multiple people to this horrid virus. Like all of us, though, I have lost the ability to show up and grieve. That is an enormous loss.