We Are All Grieving – What Can We Do?
I have been trying to write this article for the last few days. I cannot seem to come up with the right words to say. Many of us cannot sleep, have a rush of thoughts in our head, and are finding it difficult to concentrate with so much going on around us. My heart is breaking for our country as I watch all of the current gut-wrenching circumstances playing out across our nation.
I grieve for the families of the 107,850+ people who have lost their lives to COVID-19.
I grieve for our community who lost loved ones, homes, and parts of their lives when the tornado struck on Sunday, April 12.
I grieve for the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery.
I grieve the loss of those who are killed by violent acts.
I grieve the uncertainty of safety in the streets and for just police officers who now feel like they must defend their profession.
I grieve for aging loved ones who cannot see their sons, daughters, grandchildren, and friends because the facilities are not allowing visitors.
I grieve the loss of group celebrations and time to socialize with clients, coworkers, friends, and family.
And, I grieve the loss of the daily life we knew prior to the pandemic.
What Is Grief?
Grief is the acute pain that accompanies loss. Because it is a reflection of what we love, it can feel all-encompassing. Grief is not limited to the loss of people. It can include the loss of ideals, events, interactions, and even a country we thought we knew.
Grief follows its own path, and there is no set timetable for feelings of pain after loss. Grief is a natural response to loss. You may experience all kinds of difficult and unexpected emotions, from shock or anger to disbelief, guilt, and profound sadness. It could happen instantaneously or even years later.
Honestly, I have been experiencing all forms of grief in recent days, as I am sure many of you have as well. In my grief, I find myself questioning so many things. Is there something I can do to make a difference? Can one person have impact on the whole? Alone, I cannot solve racial injustice, violent crimes, economic distress, a pandemic, or societal inequities. However, I will not allow my grief to immobilize me.
In my 30+ years of working as a social worker, I have learned that there is always action that we can take to make a positive difference in our world.
Actions for Real, Positive Change
- Listen empathetically as others share their experiences.
- Ask questions in an effort to understand differences.
- Use individual and collective voices to stand for truth and to help cultivate a culture of diversity, inclusion, and racial equity.
- Advocate for those who are unable to do so for themselves.
- Connect with those who are different from you.
- Educate yourself and others on the inequities that exist in our population (be informed).
- Be part of the solution; flee from indifference.
Join me! We can all do better – one action at a time.
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The material in this publication was created as of the date set forth above and is based on laws, court decisions, administrative rulings, and congressional materials that existed at that time, and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on specific facts. In some cases, the underlying legal information is changing quickly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The information in this publication is not intended to create, and the transmission and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship. Please contact your legal counsel for advice regarding specific situations.