By Erika Hubbard, Social-Emotional Learning Specialist
This week, we pause and acknowledge the grief and loss that many in our community are currently experiencing. Many of us are feeling the effects of multiple types of grief during this time, whether from the loss of a loved one, friend or student; the loss of your traditions; or perhaps the loss of a sense of normalcy.
Whatever loss you are experiencing, know that there is no right way to grieve. Grief is a normal and natural response to loss of any kind. We all experience grief in our own unique ways that are influenced by our culture, communities and family beliefs.
You may find yourself experiencing many emotions at once or feeling a sense of numbness. Whatever it is you are feeling, remember that your feelings are valid. Instead of thinking about grief as a series of stages that one passes through (shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance), it may be helpful to think about grief as described by writer and illustrator Mari Andrews:
“It's different for everyone, but my personal experience is that grief doesn't ever go away, but it does change shape and it becomes something you can hold rather than something that overwhelms you--a part of you, rather than a burden. Whatever you're carrying today, my heart is very much with you.”
While there are many ways to grieve both individually and collectively, there are also many ways to cope and move toward healing. Some strategies from Ambiguous Loss: Grieving in the Time of COVID-19 (recorded webinar from Mental Health Technology and Transfer Center) include:
- Acknowledge and feel feelings as they come up
- Give yourself space and time to grieve
- Practice kindness and compassion with yourself and others
- Connect with others who can offer support
- Be a supportive listener for others when you can
Here are resources that you can access. We encourage you to reach out for support in whatever ways feel best for you. Know that you are not going through this alone.
- SEL Drop-in Sessions: If you were unable to attend one of our SEL drop-in sessions, we have recorded a 15-minute video for you to watch on our SEL Canvas page in the Asynchronous Learning Section. In this video, we encourage you to take some time for your own wellness, by engaging in a grounding experience and experiencing, receiving and giving of gratitude.
- Community Supports: During COVID, many grief counseling supports are now available online. The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation offers free online counseling for the African American community. The Healing Center provides virtual grief support groups, including groups for survivors of suicide, children, adolescents, and adults.
- Employee Assistance Program: the EAP is a resource available to all Highline Employees. You can access the EAP 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling 800-777-4114 or using the website: firstchoiceEAP.com (username highlinesd). By logging in to the EAP website, you will have access to online resources including articles, videos, and FAQs ranging on topics from emotional and physical well-being to financial literacy and relationship support. You can also access up to three free therapy sessions.