Health Conditions

The sad science of pandemic grief

Good afternoon, readers.

I want to talk about grief.

We all experience grief in different ways given the circumstances and our own personalities. Grieving someone who you may have never met isn’t going to be the same thing as mourning a loved one. Disruptions to your daily life, such as canceling funerals or weddings or any number of social occasions, takes a toll. So how does that all that add up during a pandemic?

In a year filled with suffering, I had the opportunity to speak with an expert on grief and bereavement this week.

“We all continue to be at risk for death and loss, the two things we fear the most,” says Dr. Katherine Shear, the founding director of Columbia University’s Center for Complicated Grief, of the COVID pandemic in an interview with Fortune.

“9/11 was traumatic, but it was over after a while. This is just ongoing, and it’s turned our lives upside down,” she said.

Shear and I spoke about all manners of grief. The temporary kind. The lasting kind (a particularly concerning one in times of malaise). The kinds that present themselves in all sorts of weird ways, since grief has a weird way of playing on our heartstrings.

“Grief is such a powerful thing to the specific loss that you’ve had,” said Shear. “The steps for recovering aren’t orderly.”

“The steps for recovering aren’t orderly.” Words to remember from a literal grief expert.

Read on for the day’s news, and see you next week.

Sy Mukherjee
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