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America was not prepared to lose 220,000 lives and counting — how do we cope?

America was not prepared to lose 220,000 lives and counting — how do we cope?

Over 220,000 Americans have succumbed to the coronavirus. Each of their lives mattered — they had family and friends who are now stuck in a world without their loved ones. This isn’t political; this is the reality of real, unbounded loss America now faces. 

Grief is ubiquitous in 2020. Not only have celebrities like Kobe Bryant and Chadwick Boseman passed on, but hundreds of thousands of Americans have died from COVID-19 — their stories largely unreported by the press. We were not prepared to lose so many lives to the coronavirus, so how do we cope?

Chadwick Boseman, as Marvel superhero Black Panther. Image Credit: Disney/Marvel

The grieving process is never straightforward. We are individuals who process pain differently. Some will take longer than others to move through and past their grief. To comfort those who have lost a loved one, all we can do is offer our support in whatever ways we can. We can demonstrate compassion by showing up for each other and being present in the grief of others.

It may be surprising how many months or years it takes to fully mourn the loss of a loved one. Some days are harder than others. It does not help to belittle or minimize the feelings of loss. Moving through grief is not as simple as sentiments like “at least they lived a happy life.” Anything that detracts from the immediate moment is not always helpful for someone who is stuck in one devastating moment in time — the moment they learned of their loved one’s passing.

Regardless of politics, we will be dealing with grief from these losses for many years to come. In a time of profound loss and ambiguity, we need to band together and support those who have lost loved ones during this incredibly difficult year. These losses will not be easily forgotten, nor will they be in vain — every single one of the hundreds of thousands of American  lives mattered. These were our relatives, our neighbors and coworkers, our friends. Acknowledge the presence of grief with respect and empathy because we need each other now more than ever. We’re counting on each other.

Thumbnail Credit: Mike Labrum/Unsplash

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Lead developer and editor; legal/political reporter for the Current Affairs Times. World traveler. Mac 'n' cheese lover.

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