The lonely reality of grieving online during social isolation

It seems the whole world has turned sideways as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and that includes our funeral and mourning rituals. Regular readers know all too well that the pandemic didn’t create online mourning and grief, but current social distancing measures mean increasing numbers of people are suddenly using the internet to grieve.

Writer Abby Ohlheiser of MIT Technology Review recently spoke with both Sarah Chavez, longtime friend and ally of Refuge in Grief, and myself about the realities of grief and mourning during this period, about how this was already a painful reality for some before anyone had heard of Covid-19, and how we can make new rituals to support each other in this moment.

From the article:

“Undocumented communities have been living with this reality for many years now,” says Sarah Chavez, the director of The Order of the Good Death, an organization that advocates for death acceptance. “Heartbreaking stories of children not being able to say goodbye to dying parents; husbands and wives being forced to watch each other die and be buried through Skype.” Virtual mourning has also been a part of grief in rural areas, where there are fewer in-person resources, and for those mourning certain types of loss, like suicide, drug-related deaths, homicide, or the death of a young child.

But the covid-19 pandemic has forced all those dealing with death to confront the possibility that they won’t be able to access what mourners may need most: human touch, connection, and community support. They will likely be deprived of the comforting rituals that psychotherapist and grief specialist Megan Devine calls the “casserole train.” The paradox of the pandemic is that people are more aware of death and grieving, yet less available to help others through it.  “The amount of support that might have been available now has evaporated,” Devine says.

Click here to read the entire article at MIT Technology Review.

“I’m hoping that by voicing and sharing our grief online we can learn to normalize the experience and demonstrate that grief is hard, but it is a shared, normal human experience,” Chavez says. Click To Tweet

How about you? How has the pandemic affected your grief and mourning rituals?

flame-heart-100Wishing for some company inside your grief? Now, as always, the very best place I know to connect YOU with other grieving folks is inside the Writing Your Grief community. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, there is always someone there: when you feel invisible inside your grief, these folks see you. When your friends have their own sh*t to deal with and you can’t lean on them, your WYG family is there. I mean it folks, this community is unlike any other place – online or IRL. Follow this link to join us in the next session, and pass it on.