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Stories and inspiration to help you keep the memories of your loved ones alive

LGBTQ+ Grieving: Loss, Love, and Pride

While anyone can experience disenfranchised grief – grief that is not openly acknowledged, socially validated, or publicly observed – specific types of death and membership in already-disenfranchised populations can significantly heighten one’s risk of experiencing it. In this way, LGBTQ+ individuals may be doubly at risk for disenfranchised grief.

Finding similarities between your own grief experience and the experiences of others can help connect you in understanding to both the universality of loss, and uniqueness of your own grief journey. Sharing your story can help both you and others heal.

When someone we care about has experienced a death loss, many of us will send a condolence card or letter, pick up the phone to extend direct sympathy, or – in ordinary times – stop by with flowers or food. However, it is more common than ever to learn about a loss via social media and therefore use these platform to express our initial condolences. Social media, including memorialization websites, can be invaluable in remaining in touch with grieving loved ones who are separated by us through distance; at the same time, using these platforms to express grief support can also feel like stepping carefully through a minefield.

Staying in Touch—Real Touch

My first grandchild was born in early 2020, right as the COVID-19 pandemic was gaining momentum. I got a social-distancing, several-feet-away peek at him early on, but then we were kept apart for three long months out of an abundance of caution that his mom (my daughter), 60-something me, and the healthy-but-vulnerable newborn all stayed safe. As the shelter-in-place weeks slogged by, I found myself more and more impatient to hold the little guy. Like so many people the world over, I was becoming touch deprived.

The pandemic has created unusually complicated death and grief circumstances for many people personally affected by COVID-19. If someone you love has died from the novel coronavirus, you have certain “rights” that no one can take away from you. This list is intended both to empower you to heal in ways that work for you, and to decide how others can and cannot help.

Over the past few months, the covid-19 pandemic has expanded the usual definition of anticipatory grief. Mandated sheltering-in aimed at slowing the virus’s spread collectively and individually took us from the flow, routine and rhythm of normal life and abruptly dropped us into an uncertain present and future. Now as we mourn the loss of thousands of lives and what once was, many of us are also anticipating and grieving pandemic-related short-term and long-term losses yet to come.

“Tell Me How to Grieve”

Humans have held funeral ceremonies since the beginning of time because only ritual feels up to the task. The death of a loved one is a life-transforming event, and ritual sacredly acknowledges that significance.

Ambiguous loss is a loss that can lead grievers to question if a real loss has even occurred. Ambiguous losses are complicated, involving unforeseen – even unimaginable – circumstances that create a lingering sense of uncertainty and overwhelm about not only what is being felt but also what has been lost. Not being able to go to the health club – is that a real loss? What about feeling isolated whereas before you felt a sense of belonging, safety and security?  Desired foods and products no longer available at the grocery store? Seeing daily counts of the sick and dead on television?

Creating a mandala when grief is present provides an effective outlet for expressing the pain of loss in an unspoken inner language of images, colors, shapes, forms and symbols that can bring forth insights often not found through words.

Aromatherapy Takes You to a Healing Place

Remembering A Life sat down with Polly Schellinger, a board-certified holistic nurse and owner of The Healing Place Farm, and invited her to tell us a bit about her beautiful farm and its furry and feathery residents; the inspiration for her essential oil products; and her partnership with Remembering A Life.