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‘There’s No Closure’: Stories Of Grief During Coronavirus

Julie Burkey (right) sits with her aunt known as "Jean" (left) who died in April. Burkey suspects her elderly aunt died from coronavirus, though that hasn't been confirmed.
Julie Burkey (right) sits with her aunt known as "Jean" (left) who died in April. Burkey suspects her elderly aunt died from coronavirus, though that hasn't been confirmed.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced so many of us to grapple with the loss of people we care about. 

So far, over 90,000Americans have succumbed to the disease. And that number is expected to continue to grow.

For individuals and families, the immediate and natural response to that loss is grief. And sometimes, grief-related pain and symptoms — which can be emotional, physical, cognitive, and spiritual — can feel overwhelming.

But it’s important to remember that there is no right or wrong way to grieve. There’s no “normal” timetable to move forward after a loved one has died. Healing happens gradually. It cannot be hurried.

But what if you can’t even say goodbye? A number of states have banned gatherings of more than 10 people in the wake of the pandemic. And that includes funerals.

We spoke with three listeners who have lost loved ones due to coronavirus. 

Daniel Bailey, from the Detroit area in Michigan, William McLain IV of New Orleans and Julie Burkey from Kalamazoo, Michigan agreed that the healing process has been disrupted. 

And in this time of crisis, each mourner says they wish that we could come together to support each other, instead of being told to stay apart.

We remember their loved ones and hear more from them.

Copyright 2020 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.