Becky Lomaka, MA, CT, Director of Grief Support and Education O’Connor Mortuary

Becky Lomaka, MA, CT, Director of Grief Support and Education O’Connor Mortuary

First, if you are grieving the death of someone you love, let me offer my heartfelt condolences to you. These are unprecedented times in which your grief is compounded by the uncertainty surrounding us.

When I speak on the topic, I refer to losing our “North” when we are grieving. When we are grieving our world feels turned upside down. Our task is to find our “North” again; not to recover because “recovery” means to go back to how things were before our loss. Rather, we enfold our loss into our lives. The end game is not to get over it, to find closure, or move on... it’s to find renewal. Grief has no timeline; it lasts as long as it lasts. We learn to integrate our loss into our lives, yet we will always grieve someone we love.

Grief, by definition, is a keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret; a cause or occasion of keen distress or sorrow. Grief is a normal and natural response to the loss of someone (or something) important to you. Grief is a process of adaptation; a life transition. It’s individual – I may have some letters after my name, designating me as an expert, yet you are the “expert” of your own grief – it’s unique to only you.

So here we are, in a world of uncertainty, and I am struck by the fact that what we are feeling individually and collectively as a nation and a world sure feels an awful lot like grief.

While we grieve this global health crisis, it’s important for each of us to honor our own sadness and loss. We each are grieving individual losses such as work, social activities, school, and physically being with people we love. It’s easy to feel selfish or guilty for grieving individual losses in the midst of a pandemic the likes of which most of us have never experienced in our lifetime.

Brene Brown has a powerful quote, “You can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability.” Identifying and acknowledging our feelings is a positive coping strategy. It’s ok and perfectly normal to say, “Life is difficult right now.” Honoring our individual losses allows us to also seek out and recognize moments of gratitude in the midst of our pain. A little gift left on our front porch, walking the dog, listening to nature, watching an old classic movie, a long conversation with a dear friend. It’s ok to grieve our individual losses while allowing ourselves joy in the midst of our grief.

It’s so important for us to focus on what we can control in a world that seems wildly out of control. Ritual speaks when words fail. Ritual, symbol, and connection help us on our grief journey. As we shelter in place, we are missing many of our daily rituals and connection with others; our gyms and fitness studios, clubs, favorite restaurants, sports, family gatherings. Find ways to incorporate new rituals into your life. Facetime, Zoom or Skype with your golf buddies, join a free online yoga class, utilize technology to virtually share a favorite meal with family and friends. As I’m writing this, I am looking forward to my first-ever “virtual happy hour” with my neighbors.

As the whole world grieves, let’s allow our collective need for patience and grace. Don’t minimize your losses. Stay connected - practice physical distancing yet maintain social connectedness. We are resilient, we will get through this, and it will transform us. It’s our “new normal.”

Stay well and take care of yourself.


IMG 0569 1O’Connor Mortuary
25301 Alicia Parkway
Laguna Hills
(949) 581-4300
www.oconnormortuary.com

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