Tag Archives: Grief

Pandemic Diary: 16 March 2021

I just read a NYTimes article about “disenfranchised grief”—grief that isn’t acknowledged. There is a lot of it that has built up in many of us who haven’t lost anyone close to us, or lost our jobs, or been evicted. Our losses are “smaller”; e.g., losing time with our grandchildren; missing out on big events like weddings, funerals, graduations; canceling travel plans; or just being unable to be with people face-to-face.

All those little losses add up, though, and need to be acknowledged. We have to give ourselves permission to feel it. It’s common to say, “Other people have it a lot worse than me, so I can’t grieve the small things.” I say it all the time—”I’m lucky because I already worked from home so my job wasn’t affected”; “No one close to me has died, so I’m very fortunate”; etc. I feel sad that we can’t be with our kids and grandkids. It was painful to have to have a memorial service for my brother-in-law, who died from lung cancer, over Zoom—it tore me apart to see my niece sobbing and not be able to hold her. I miss wandering around TJMaxx for a couple of hours.

But I haven’t lost a loved one to COVID. We haven’t been evicted or lost our income. We can afford to put food on the table. So my grief isn’t as important as others’. I don’t have a right to grieve.

Not so! There’s no hierarchy of grief. My grief is just as legitimate as anyone else’s and needs to be honored. How to do that is up to me—I need to find ways to grieve openly that work for me. I’m not good at grief in general, so it won’t be easy. Not that grief ever is.

Pandemic Diary: 30 Dec 2020

Second-to-last day of 2020. We’re having a Zoom gathering to remember Mick this afternoon. I read a great article (transcript of a podcast, actually) about how to mourn the loss of a loved one in this time of isolation. Like all disruptions, this gives us the opportunity to break out of old habits that maybe aren’t serving us as well as in the past, and find new ways to do things. One of the benefits of Zoom living is that it allows people from all over the world to participate in something, not just the people who can travel there at that time. It’s definitely not as satisfying in terms of sharing physical affection—it will be heartbreaking not to be able to hold my sister and niece in my arms. But at least I can attend. If I had to drive 5 hours to get there, it would’ve been much more difficult to participate.

Zoom living is the new normal. We have to be creative in how to do it well.

Mick and Michael Anna Fambro