Leaving a legacy means different things to each of us. Last month I discussed the many forms of legacy and how honoring our loved ones can shape our own legacy. But during the last two years as the world has experienced Covid 19, many of us have had our world ripped apart.
Aston Verdery, a sociologist at Pennsylvania State University has developed a bereavement multiplier that estimates the number of us in the US impacted by a Covid loss of a close relative. He and his team were shocked by the findings, which were much larger than suspected. For every person who dies of Covid in the US there are on average nine in their immediate family group left bereaved.
Four grandchildren mourning each grandparent, two children for every parent and two siblings for each brother or sister that left us.
About 8.5 million people in the US bereaved by these losses. That is a staggering number.
Verdery and his team were particularly struck by the large numbers of people who lost a grandparent, saying, “Many children will remember for the rest of their lives that they lost a grandparent in the pandemic.”
Not just the numbers are impactful. The way we were able to mourn during the pandemic was foreign. The public health measures in place that limited gatherings and contact with others, while understandable for controlling the spread, made traditional ways we grieve impossible. A memorial over a Zoom call after your loved one died alone in a hospital is just plain traumatic for the most grounded person.
It’s not surprising more and more people are suffering prolonged periods of grieving. Not being able to connect with others and develop new traditions only exacerbates an already difficult grieving process.
The legacy of Covid.
I have a friend who lost her husband to Covid. Her four grandchildren will remember the loss of their fun-loving grandfather, for sure.
She heard of an online support group for those who had lost their spouse to the pandemic. She joined, a little reluctantly, I think, but it has been a lifesaver to her. She has found other people who truly understand her feelings of losing her husband in such a traumatic way.
If you are suffering from the trauma of Covid’s legacy of really difficult grief, or love someone who is, in the Southwestern Illinois area, you are not alone. Heartlinks Grief Center, based in Belleville, Illinois, has group and individual counseling that can help you manage and grow through your grief. They are here for you.
Heartlinks Grief Center provides grief support to all ages, regardless of ability to pay. If you are grieving or know someone who could use assistance on their grief journey, please contact Heartlinks Grief Center at 618-277-1800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proceeds from the sale of my books are donated to help support Heartlinks Grief Center, a program of Family Hospice of Belleville, IL.
“We Grow Stronger Together”