I buried my mom at the beginning of the pandemic, and we were not able to have more than a handful of people at the cemetery. It has been difficult to grieve in isolation. Now that we are beginning to see each other again, I have noticed that many people do not even remember I lost my mom. I feel awkward bringing it up and honestly, I feel shortchanged in terms of support because of the pandemic. Is it okay to ask for support two years later?
First let me say that I am sorry to hear about the passing of your mother. May her memory be a blessing.
It is tough to lose someone in a pandemic and to be deprived of the unrestricted support from others. Even though technology has enabled us to stay in touch virtually, it did not replace the warm hugs or the benefits we get from being with someone as a show of support. It is likely that your friends and co-workers have not forgotten but are merely consumed by their own struggles caused by the pandemic.
Please do bring up your mom’s death and ask for support. Your friends and co-workers will be glad you did. It may open the door for them to talk about their losses as well. Everyone’s grief looks different and there is no set timeline. It’s never too late to attend to losses. Be gentle with yourself and allow as much time as you need to grieve. And don’t forget to be gentle with your friends and co-workers too! If there is ever a time to give others a “pass,” it is now.
There are many ways to grieve that do not necessarily involve utilizing a support system. Planting a tree, making your mom’s favorite recipe, doing something she would have enjoyed or making a donation in her memory. It’s not too late to join a support group and in fact, Jewish Family Service is starting a new six-week grief group in April.
I would also like to take this opportunity to tell you about a new program facilitated by JFS called Beads of Courage. This program is for anyone who is grieving the loss of a loved one and involves meeting in small groups and constructing a string of beads that represent the person who has passed. Each bead represents a concept such as the continuation of life or a memory that you identify. You are guided through the exercise as you chose your glass beads and construct your individual strand in a supportive environment. At the end of the exercise, you will be invited to share and then leave with a beautiful strand of beads. This program is free and will be offered many times throughout the year.
Keep talking to your family, friends, and co-workers. Grieving is difficult any way you look at it so don’t be afraid to take advantage of your support system.
Now that people are starting to meet in person again, take advantage of support groups and any opportunity to honor you mom’s memory. There are support groups meeting in person and virtual ones if you are not comfortable. Jewish Family Service is tarting an in-person Grief Support group in April.
To learn more about Beads of Courage or to sign up for the Grief group contact Toni Jacobsen at 615-354-1672 or Ashley Franklin at 615-354-1662.