In A Time Of Overwhelming Loss...

In this time of Covid, in this time of so many deaths, we are grieving. Grieving the death to our way of living, death in our loss of normal activities, death in our loss of physical, social contact with friends and families, for many, the death of their job, and the most commonly known death—physical life.

For all of these losses we grieve. We grieve the same way whether the loss is a job, an activity or a friend or relative’s death.

Grief is a whole bunch of emotions rolled into one package we call grief. Grieving can be invisible. We can carry it around in our hearts and minds and not even know it is there UNTIL it pops out in tears, in anger, in depression, in physical illness.

When someone we know or are close to dies we expect to grieve. We recognize our sadness but often we don’t recognize our impulsiveness to clean the house, or our frustration with the grocery clerk or the grandkids, or our honking and irritation with the driver in front of us as grief. But it is. Our “nerves” are on edge. We are out of balance. All is not right with our world.

Grief tests our beliefs. It tests our patience. It tests our character.

For those whose physical death of someone close is their grief I say there are no words or actions that anyone can say to ease the feeling of loss or pain you are experiencing. Only time will ease the pain. Slowly, ever so slowly, time steps in and creates a gap in the continuous stream of the feeling of loss. The emptiness is always there. It is just that we don’t feel it on a continual basis as we do when our grief begins.

As I write this I wonder if the same isn’t true for all forms of grieving, no matter the kind of loss. Time becomes the healer. No, not healer, because we never heal from grief. We learn to live with it.

Hopefully we will learn to live with the grief of 2020—so many losses, so many deaths, deaths of all kinds.

I wrote a booklet called My Friend, I Care that explains the normal grieving pattern. It is a guide and support written for those grieving from a physical death but so much of it applies to all the kinds of grief.

Maybe it can be a help now, in this time of overwhelming losses that we, as a country, are experiencing.

For Hospices and End of Life Professionals who provide bereavement support during this time of restricted personal contact, sending My Friend, I Care as a sympathy card is of even more importance. More than just a card, it is an educational tool to be read and reread, a hands on, when I hurt, companion to grief.

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Hi Christie, having a mom in the dying process is a challenge in itself. Having a mom in the process of dying during Covid restrictions is almost unbearable. I am so sorry this is the life situation your family is facing. Ideas: you might start keeping a journal. Write all of your thoughts and feeling down each day. You need an outlet for the frustration and feelings of helplessness that you have. Just getting them out, on paper, will help a bit. Zooming is certainly helpful but know as she progresses she will not be able to respond. Continue the zooming and talking to her even when she is non responsive. Also, thoughts are things, as a teacher once told me, so sit in your favorite chair, close your eyes, and picture yourself at your mom’s bedside. Hold her, lay with her, whatever is comfortable for you in your mind and then begin talking with her. Tell her whatever your heart leads you to do and say. Do this whenever you feel the need to talk with her.
My blessings to you and your family. Barbara

Christie Webb

I love, and have read the majority of your booklets. Armed with this information and being a nurse for 39 years has not prepared me for the emotional pain of watching my mother fade away after a fractured hip 3 months ago. She’s lost more than 30 lbs and we are trying to do everything possible to keep her comfortable; hospice, good nursing home etc. Due to Covid we are not allowed to visit her, so zoom calls weekly with my Mom and 2 sisters has helped. I’m having a tough time not being able to be there with my Mom. We will be allowed to come into the nursing home when she starts to actively die. How can we better cope with this new reality?

Susan H Knight

You are wonderful, Barbara! Have been sending “My Friend, I Care” to friends with loss for 25 years, since someone gave it to me when my mother died. It is always appreciated. Only now, with a reorder, am I learning that you are cranking out blogs now too. What a blessing in this world, and a message of hope.
BTW, every time I send “My Friend, I Care,” I read it again and apply it to myself and my griefs. It always helps.

Maria Foran

Thank you for your incredible passion for helping those who are grieving the loss of a love one. It has helped me and is a blessing! I have read all your basic books, and always look forward to your emails on special topics! May God bless you!


Thanks Barbara, I lost my best friend in Jan 2018, then my dog of 9yrs in April of 2019, then in May of this year, 2020 I lost my X partner/best friend/soul mate. All of them succomed to cancer, and thru all of this painnI have turned to your books to help me learn and deal with death, dying and caring for someone who was dying. I was durable power of attorney for each of them as well as primary caregiver and without your insightful writing, I would have been at a total loss. So I’d just like to say thank you from the bottom of my ❤️ for helping me cope with all of my loss, my grief and for helping me to stay strong. Sincerely, Duane L. (Oakland, ComeA)

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