Pandemic Grief Could Become its Own Health Crisis
How to find your way along the long arc of loss
As the nation mourns more than 500,000 lives lost a year into the coronavirus pandemic, another pandemic wave is building — of grief. It poses a potential public health crisis of its own.
For the past century, Americans’ response to grief has been to minimize its impact and suppress the emotional pain. We treat grieving as an individual affair, with mourners responsible for “getting over” their losses, mostly in private. Social isolation during the pandemic has made grieving even more solitary.
But grief wasn’t always treated this way. For centuries, communities came together to mourn the passing of an individual as a loss to the polity. Victorian mourning practices were extravagant social affairs involving rituals that the bereaved and fellow citizens followed for months, sometimes years, after a death.
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