It is to Grieve

It is to Grieve

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak
whispers o'er the fraught heart and bids it break.”
~ William Shakespeare

In the weeks ahead, as the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic expands and deepens there may come a point where no one escapes grieving the loss of a friend or family member. 

Grief is complicated enough.  It is even more difficult during this pandemic when we can’t say goodbye, or hug the dying person, or sit vigil by their bedside, or touch the deceased.  We may not even be able to gather together to draw strength, comfort and support from each other.  And we may not have the opportunity, for some time, to engage the rituals of funerals, wakes, and remembrances that can bring comfort. 

This is hard. 

Five weeks after the towers fell in New York after 9/11, I was deployed to the city with a mutual aid Critical Incident Stress Team.  It was my second deployment. This time much of the week was spent accompanying families to ‘The Pile’ at Ground Zero as it was called.  At that point they were beyond rescue and working on recovery.  And for some, this was the first and the only chance to come close to their loved ones and the place they died.  A boat ride over.  A ritual on a platform above 'The Pile.'  A boat ride back.  It was a chance to tell stories of their loved ones.  It was a chance to speak the words folks wished they could have said as they stood there on the platform.  It was a time of very full silence.  It was one more chance to cry; one more step on that long journey into a new way of living without them there. 

Grief in a time of disaster and pandemic is complicated.  It is hard. 

This season of Lent reminds us that Easter is only possible once you go through Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.  We have each other as we journey through this together.  And we have Christ who knows this journey intimately.  We are not alone; our God, and the whole world, grieve together. 

We are developing pages on our website that are meant to offer 3 things:
  1. Resources for grief and grieving. Including local grief groups. 
  2. Crowd sourcing for prayers and liturgies for when we can’t gather and, eventually, when we can
  3. A place for names of loved ones who have died so we can grieve together and hold each other in grief.
Please send to a member of our SNEUCC staff any ideas, resources or insights you may have. 
From John 14 (NRSV)
1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 

Candle Photo by Marc Ignacio on Unsplash


Don H. Remick

Don Remick is Bridge Conference Minister.

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