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Grief counselor discusses loss during pandemic

If you’ve lost anyone since March, then you know the grieving process is anything but normal.
If you’ve lost anyone since March, then you know the grieving process is anything but normal.(WSAW)
Published: Sep. 7, 2020 at 3:12 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - If you’ve lost anyone since March, then you know the grieving process is anything but normal. Maybe you were unable to visit that person before they died, or maybe they suffered from Dementia and couldn’t fully understand why.

Amy Kitsembel, bereavement coordinator at Aspirus, says when many large gatherings are off the table, families can take comfort in knowing how strong they are for walking through that grief without a traditional funeral.

“Yeah, it’s hard. A lot of things are hard. But the good news is we’re capable. And I think a lot of times, like I said, pulling the barrier outside and saying, so what can you do?” she asked.

Kitsembel is impressed with people’s creativity in paying tribute to people they’ve lost.

“I’ve also participated in funerals and weddings, distanced. But it really makes those pictures and those moments and those stories, I think, so much more important,” she said. “Some of the most powerful moments I’ve heard from people with their grief healing… simply is figuring out how to make grandma’s potato salad.”

Asked if she believes it’s been harder to grieve someone during the pandemic, she said, “Grief is grief is grief. Some people are happy I say that, and some people are disturbed.”

She says even if people haven’t lost someone during this time, many of us are grieving the things and rituals we aren’t able to do.

Kitsembel says we need to look at the positive, at all of the ways we have made connections during this time.

“I have found that people rise to the challenge,” she said, describing the creative ways people are celebrating birthdays and graduations socially distanced.

She tells her patients to name each thing they are grieving, in hopes that talking about it will bring a sense of closure.

Copyright 2020 WSAW. All rights reserved.

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