For Grief and Loss
Leaning into Grief and Loss to Create Healing with Dr. Kate Truitt
This is a time of deep grief and loss. From the felt sense of lost freedoms to the very real loss of those we know and love passing on from this world. Grief is an experience of both mourning and honoring. It’s important to take space to be conscientious and kind to ourselves about our feelings and truths as we navigate the darkness of pain and loss. The experience of loss of 2020 in specifically unique as we are isolated from our communities and our loved ones. Learn some key takeaways in this video.
Grief and Loss During the Coronavirus Pandemic with Dr. Kate Truitt & Sarah Schupack, LMFT
Experiences of grief and loss are plentiful during the Coronavirus Pandemic —loss of friends, families, and colleagues, loss of graduations, new jobs, uncertainty about what school will look like next year, loss of being able to enjoy a night out with friends, or even breathe safely and freely when navigating our day to day lives. All of these losses carry meaning and it’s so important to honor loss, to hold space for it and the hard feelings that arise alongside it. In this video Dr. Kate Truitt is joined by Stress and Trauma Specialist Sarah Schupack, LMFT to unpack what grief and loss look like in 2020, and to provide actionable steps for self-care and healing.
Leaning into Grief and Loss to Create Healing
by Dr. Kate Truitt
Navigating the Coronavirus Pandemic means that many of us at some point will likely deal with some degree of grief and loss. Though I would not consider my self to be a scientific expert on the subject of grief and loss, I personally have survived many significant losses.
I had what I used to believe was a unicorn story. In 2009, I was widowed a week before my wedding, and that was a story of deep, devastating loss that turned into a story of deep, incredible resilience. Today, when I talk with my patients, colleagues and friends, I realize that what was once a unicorn story is now a story lived by many. So many of us are losing the ones we love and care about.
In my story I was given the gift of being able to host the beautiful funeral service of my fiancé. The church was filled to overflowing, with people literally standing in the parking lot, waiting to pay their respects to the wonderful man we lost. Heartbreakingly, in the midst of the pandemic too many people are not given that gift. They are experiencing grief and loss amid a deeply rooted sense of isolation—something that has never been experienced in our lifetimes.
grief and loss take on new meaning in the pandemic world
Grief is an experience of mourning and deep honoring. One thing I have learned through my own journey is that the experience of grief and loss has a softening effect: it is so important for us to save space, be conscientious and kind toward our feelings and ourselves as we navigate these deeply painful times. I keep writing variations of the word deep, because grief is deep, and it is a normal part of our human experience, and yet in this new reality it is much more difficult, because we are not able to hold one another like we normally would.
The Coronavirus Pandemic points out an important truth about grief: It’s not always about the loss of another person. This crisis has created many situations that bring grief: the loss of a career someone has pursued for decades, the loss of a home because you can’t afford the mortgage or rent payment, the loss of your lifestyle you once enjoyed, the loss grandparents feel because they are not able to hold and play with their grandchildren, no graduation celebrations, no birthday parties, no wedding receptions.
experiencing grief and loss on a practical level—in our daily lives
I recently talked with Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Sarah Schupack, a member of my team at the Trauma Counseling Center of Los Angeles. She is a trauma expert who has been doing very moving work helping people navigate their experiences of grief and loss during these extraordinary times. I asked her about what she is seeing.
“One of the things I’m curious about on a practical level is how we are experiencing grief and loss around our daily lives—needing to wear face masks and do social distancing,” Sarah said. “Whether we’re staying home or staying six feet apart, this is a major loss in our ability to move and breathe freely. I think we are feeling that major change and experiencing that loss on some level, and we have feelings about that deep within us.”
Sarah said that people need to acknowledge and have compassion for those feelings inside of themselves—including feelings of wanting to rebel against these limitations that have been placed upon us—so that their inner voices can be heard and seen.
The little 'T' traumas matter too
We also talked about the importance of acknowledging both the little “t” traumas that accumulate in these times along with the big “T” traumas.
“Sometimes we can try to justify to ourselves that something is more important because it’s a big “T” but the little “t” shouldn’t matter, but it does,” Sarah said. “Little things like having to wait in line to go to our favorite store or not being able to go to our favorite store because the line is too long, or having to cover our mouths with something that is uncomfortable and makes it hard to breathe. These are the small, micro changes in our lives, but they are real, and they’re hard.”
the value of leaning into loss and grief
Whether you are dealing with a devastating trauma or an accumulation of “little” daily traumas, this is a time of significant loss. But instead of ignoring it, we need to lean into it, acknowledge it and have compassion for what we are feeling. Our brain and our body don’t like it when we’re not paying attention to what is real. The more we ignore reality, the louder it becomes. Lean into your loss, acknowledge it, find space within yourself to be in relationship with the loss, honoring that your feelings are real. Find others to connect with in that relationship with your loss.
In those moments when I do video chats, I bring in what I call the hug hack, delivering that electrochemical experience of connection and holding gentle space for yourself and those around you, but most importantly for yourself. I invite you to visit my YouTube channel specifically for my Guided Meditation for Grief and Loss to help your brain and body shift through and be connected to the reality of what is happening with your loss, grief and mourning.
The power of storytelling brings solace
Remember, this too shall pass.
If you have lost someone during this time, as I have, find peace in the fact that they live on within us and around us. We carry their spirits as we tell the stories of who they were and how they touched our lives. So, share those stories of those who have moved on, with yourself, and those you love, and those who loved them. Storytelling keeps those who are near and dear to us alive.