Letter: Edward Jahn, Leesburg

Editor: Your May 21 story, “End-of-Life in the Age of COVID,” addressed a deeply important issue.

The grief of losing a loved one is painful in ways that are hard to imagine until you have experienced it. 

It lasts seemingly forever. Besides the immediate feeling of loss, it typically produces confusion, depression, and anxiety. When my wife of 21 years died, I discovered all that for myself. But I also discovered that there are support groups that can help. 

A support group brings people together in a safe place. Group leaders and educational materials help to understand and manage emotional turmoil. We can share experiences and ways to cope. It helps enormously to able to talk with people who know how it feels. The COVID virus has made grief worse in all the ways your story describes—and also, by making it unsafe for people in support groups to meet together in person. 

One organization that I belong to, called GriefShare, is responding to the pandemic by providing support group meetings online. It has a central administration that provides resources and leadership training to local groups. Before the pandemic, the groups met in local churches. Now they can meet online. 

They are open to any person who has experienced loss. The overall orientation is Christian, but people of every religion—or none—are all welcome. The meetings have some religious content, but they are mainly about understanding grief and coping with it.

The organization web site is griefshare.org. It provides links to the local groups. It describes GriefShare as “a friendly, caring group of people who will walk alongside you through one of life’s most difficult experiences.” I have found this to be true. It has been an enormous help to me. I recommend it in the highest possible terms.

Edward Jahn, Leesburg

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