Transcript: How to Grieve During a Pandemic | Apr 21, 2020

Steve sits in a room with white walls, a low slanted ceiling and several framed pictures on the walls including one of George Drew and one of Walter Kronkite. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit and a white shirt.

A caption on screen reads "How to grieve during a pandemic."

Steve says UNDER NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES, LOSING A LOVED ONE CAN BE EXCRUCIATING. IN THESE ANYTHING-BUT-NORMAL TIMES, THAT'S COMPOUNDED IN MYRIAD WAYS. AND GRIEF IS NOT JUST LIMITED TO THOSE WE'VE LOST, BUT TO EVERYTHING THAT'S SLIPPED AWAY. JOINING US NOW FOR SOME ADVICE ON HOW TO COPE WITH IT ALL: IN LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: DAVID KESSLER, AUTHOR, "FINDING MEANING: THE SIXTH STAGE OF GRIEF..."

David is in his forties, clean-shaven, with short gray hair. He's wearing a blue shirt.
A picture of his book appears briefly on screen. The cover features a drawing in six parts depicting a sunrise.

Steve continues AND HERE IN GUELPH, ONTARIO: ANDREA WARNICK, REGISTERED PSYCHOTHERAPIST AND A PROJECT LEAD ON KidsGrief.ca.

Andrea is in her forties, with wavy brown hair in a bun. She's wearing a black sweater.

Steve continues WE ARE PLEASED TO WELCOME BOTH OF YOU TO OUR PROGRAM TONIGHT FOR WHAT IS UNFORTUNATELY A VERY TIMELY DISCUSSION ABOUT A VERY ODD TIME, AND OF COURSE EVEN A TRAGIC TIME IN THE LIVES OF MANY PEOPLE RIGHT NOW IN OUR WORLD. I WANT TO START WITH THIS... DAVID, TO YOU FIRST. YOU BOTH SPEND YOUR CAREERS HELPING PEOPLE WHO ARE GRIEVING WHICH SURELY CANNOT BE AN EASY WAY TO MAKE A LIVING, AND I WONDER IF... I WONDER IF YOU COULD SHARE WITH OUR AUDIENCE WHAT THOSE WHO KNOW YOUR WORK ALREADY KNOW, WHICH IS WHY YOU DECIDED TO GO INTO THIS FIELD IN THE FIRST PLACE.

The caption changes to "David Kessler. Author, 'Finding meaning: The sixth stage of grief.'"

David says WELL, I OFTEN SAY IT'S NOT A CAREER THAT YOU CHOOSE, IT CHOOSES YOU. I HAD A MOTHER WHO WAS DYING WHEN I WAS 13 IN AN ICU IN A VERY STERILE ENVIRONMENT. I WASN'T ALLOWED TO SEE HER. MUCH LIKE TODAY, IN A STRANGE WAY. AND AT THE SAME TIME WHERE WE WERE ACROSS THE STREET AT A HOTEL, THERE WAS ONE OF THE FIRST MASS SHOOTINGS IN THE U.S. SO DEALING IN THE THREE DAYS WITH A SHOOTING, A MOTHER DYING... IT REALLY CHANGED MY LIFE AND PUT ME ON A TRAJECTORY THAT I'VE TRIED TO MAYBE BECOME THE PERSON THAT COULD HAVE HELPED ME AND HELPING OTHERS NOW.

Steve says I DON'T MEAN TO PILE ON HERE, BUT YOU ALSO LOST YOUR SON AT THE AGE OF 21 WHEN HE WAS JUST 21. COULD YOU TALK ABOUT THAT?

David says SURE. A FEW YEARS AGO, MY YOUNGER SON, UNEXPECTEDLY, DIED, AND IT IS AS BRUTAL AS ANYONE WOULD THINK AND IS STILL BRUTAL. AND MANY PEOPLE ASK, HOW DOES THE GRIEF EXPERT DEAL WITH THAT KIND OF GRIEF, AND I SAY I WASN'T THE GRIEF EXPERT FOR THAT, I WAS A FATHER WHO HAD TO BURY A SON. AND SO, YOU KNOW, IT'S AS HARD AS IT IS FOR ANYONE, AND YOU TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME AND TRY TO LIVE A LIFE THAT HONOURS THAT PERSON AND GRIEVE FULLY AND ALSO LIVE FULLY IN THEIR HONOUR.

Steve says ANDREA, WHY DO YOU DO WHAT YOU DO?

The caption changes to "Andrea Warnick. Kidsgrief.ca. Registered Psychotherapist."

Andrea says YOU KNOW, I HAD AN EXPERIENCE WHEN I WAS A CHILD AND MY AUNT DIED AND SHE HAD YOUNG KIDS, 5 AND 10, AND SHE KNEW... SHE WAS A REGISTERED NURSE, AS I AM AS WELL, AND SHE KNEW SHE WAS DYING FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS AND REALLY NOBODY IN THE FAMILY KNEW HOW TO SUPPORT THE KIDS, AND FROM THERE I ENDED UP BECOMING A PEDIATRIC ONCOLOGY NURSE MYSELF AND WORK PEDIATRIC ONCOLOGY, ADULT ONCOLOGY, AND REALIZED VERY QUICKLY THIS WASN'T JUST OUR FAMILY GRAPPLING WITH FIGURING OUT HOW TO SUPPORT THE KIDS, THIS IS A MASSIVE GAP IN HEALTH CARE. VERY FEW KNEW HOW TO TALK TO KIDS WHO WERE SERIOUSLY ILL THEMSELVES ABOUT THEIR ILLNESS. WHEN A PARENT WAS DYING, I HAD SO MANY KIDS COMING IN AND DIDN'T KNOW THE PARENT HAD CANCER, LET ALONE THEY WERE DYING, AND IT REALLY SPARKED A FIRE FOR ME, YOU KNOW, TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS AND BE THAT PERSON WHO COULD SUPPORT THOSE KIDS.

Steve says MAYBE THIS IS A GOOD TIME TO ASK HOW CHILDREN DIFFER FROM ADULTS IN THE WAY THAT THEY GRIEVE AND PROCESS GRIEF?

Andrea says GREAT QUESTION. I MEAN, CHILDREN GRIEVE VERY DIFFERENTLY THAN ADULTS IN THAT, YOU KNOW, WHEN THEY JUMP INTO THE GRIEF, THEY'RE IN IT, AND IT FEELS HUGE. AND ADULTS ARE ALWAYS REALLY SHOCKED, THOUGH, HOW THEY CAN THEN JUMP OUT OF THAT PUDDLE AND GO PLAY LEGO, GO PLAY HOCKEY, YOU KNOW, AND THEY CAN JUMP BACK AND FORTH VERY QUICKLY. I ALWAYS SAY THAT THEY DO A BEAUTIFUL JOB OF BALANCING DEEP JOY AND DEEP SORE SORROW IN A WW ADULTS ARE CAPABLE OF DOING. ON THE FLIP SIDE, IT DOES RUN THE RISK THAT SOMETIMES WE UNDERESTIMATE HOW MUCH DISTRESS AND GRIEF KIDS ARE ACTUALLY EXPERIENCING BECAUSE THEY CAN BE PLAYING, HAVING FUN, LOOKING LIKE THEY'RE DOING JUST FINE, BUT INTERNALLY, REALLY FEELING VERY HEART BROKEN AND HAVING A HARD TIME.

Steve says DAVID, DURING NORMAL TIMES, AND ADMITTEDLY THESE ARE NOT NORMAL TIMES, BUT IN NORMAL TIMES, HOW DO PEOPLE TYPICALLY GRIEVE, IF THERE IS SUCH A THING AS TYPICALLY GRIEVING?

David says THAT'S A REALLY IMPORTANT QUESTION TOO TO REALIZE THERE IS NO TYPICAL GRIEF. OUR LOVED ONES ARE UNIQUE TO US. OUR RELATIONSHIPS ARE UNIQUE. SO NO ONE GRIEVES ALIKE. AND MANY TIMES WHEN WE ENCOUNTER THE SAME LOSS, SOMEONE DIES IN OUR FAMILY, WE THINK OF COURSE WE'RE ALL GOING TO GRIEVE ALIKE. BUT THE REALITY IS, WE DON'T. AND PART OF THE WORK IS TO TEND TO YOUR OWN GRIEF AND LET EVERYONE ELSE TEND TO THEIRS, AND IT'S A HARD THING FOR PEOPLE TO DO.

Steve says ONE OF THE WORST PARTS, OF COURSE, OF THIS COVID-19 CRISIS THAT WE'RE ALL IN RIGHT NOW IS THAT PEOPLE ARE DYING AND THEIR LOVED ONES DON'T REALLY HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SAY THEIR GOOD-BYES, IF THEY'RE DYING IN LONG-TERM CARE HOMES, THEY'RE NOT ALLOWED INTO THOSE HOMES TO VISIT AND OF COURSE THERE ARE NO FUNERALS. THE JEWISH COMMUNITY HAS SOMETHING CALLED A SHIVA, A SEVEN-DAY MOURNING PERIOD AFTER SOMEONE DIES. OF COURSE THOSE ARE OFF NOW BECAUSE OF PHYSICAL DISTANCING REQUIREMENTS. IN WHICH CASE, WHAT ADVICE, DAVID, WOULD YOU HAVE FOR PEOPLE RIGHT NOW WHO CAN'T PROCESS THEIR GRIEF IN THE WAYS THEY MIGHT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO BEFORE COVID?

David says THAT'S WHAT MAKES THIS TIME SO EXTRAORDINARY, WHEN YOU LOOK BACK AT WORLD WAR II OR VIETNAM OR THE A.I.D.S. EPIDEMIC OR EVEN 9-11, WE'VE ALWAYS BEEN ABLE TO BURY OUR DEAD. WE'VE ALWAYS BEEN ABLE TO GRIEVE THEM TOGETHER AND GATHER IN EACH OTHER'S HOMES. NOT WITH THIS ONE. AND SO IT IS IMPORTANT THAT PEOPLE FEEL GRIEF IN REAL TIME, AND THERE'S A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO ARE SAYING, OKAY, WE'RE GOING TO PUT THE FUNERAL OFF FOR TWO OR THREE MONTHS. BUT I STILL RECOMMEND, DO SOMETHING VIRTUALLY. IT'S NOT GOING TO BE PERFECT. BUT IT'S BETTER TO DO SOMETHING WHERE WE ALL GATHER WHEN THE GRIEF IS SO RAW.

Steve says HMM. I DON'T MEAN THIS TO SOUND TRITE, BUT LIKE A ZOOM SHIVA, THAT WOULD WORK?

David says ABSOLUTELY. YOU KNOW, LOOK, WE'RE HAVING A CONNECTION RIGHT NOW. I MEAN, IF ONE OF US WERE IN GRIEF, WE COULD BE COMFORTING EACH OTHER VIRTUALLY. AND SO IT'S FAR FROM PERFECT. IT'S NOT THE WAY WE WANT IT. BUT THE IDEA THAT PEOPLE ARE SITTING ISOLATED IN THEIR HOMES ALONE IS AN EVEN WORSE TRAGEDY, SO IT'S NOT THE BEST WAY TO SHOW UP, BUT RIGHT NOW FOR MANY IT'S THE ONLY WAY WE HAVE.

Steve says ANDREA, DO WE KNOW WHAT THE LONG-TERM PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACTS ARE OF NOT BEING ABLE TO GRIEVE PROPERLY?

Andrea says YOU KNOW, I MEAN, IT'S REALLY COMPLICATED IN WHAT THIS LOOKS LIKE LONG TERM. YOU KNOW, I CAN'T PULL OUT STATISTICS OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT, BUT IT CERTAINLY SHOWS UP. I FIND ONE OF THE BIGGEST JOBS... PARTS OF MY JOB AS A GRIEF THERAPIST IS TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO ACTUALLY GRIEVE AND NOT DISTRACT THEMSELVES AND NOT JUST TRY TO KEEP SO BUSY THAT THEY HAVEN'T MADE SPACE FOR THEIR GRIEF. AND WHAT I SEE FREQUENTLY WHEN PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO BE TOO BUSY OR JUST PUT IT ON THE SIDELINES OR DON'T SEE THE UTILITY IN ACTUALLY FEELING THE HEALING AND GOING THROUGH THE THOUGHTS AND EVERYTHING IS IT SHOWS UP IN DIFFERENT WAYS. I OFTEN JOKE THAT, YOU KNOW, HALF THE ROAD RAGE ON THE DVP IN TORONTO I'M CONVINCED IS UNPROCESSED, UNEXPRESSED GRIEF. THAT IT'S COMING OUT IN OTHER WAYS. AND SOMETIMES UNFORTUNATELY IT ALSO SHOWS UP WITH THE PEOPLE WE'RE CLOSEST WITH, WHEN WE HAVEN'T ACTUALLY DIRECTLY ADDRESSED IT.

Steve says FOR THE BENEFIT OF OUR FRIEND IN CALIFORNIA, THE DVP IS THE DON VALLEY PARKWAY WHICH ON NORMAL OCCASIONS IS ABSOLUTELY JAM-PACKED, AS A LOS ANGELES RESIDENT WOULD KNOW... YOU KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT PACKED HIGHWAYS... YEAH, THERE'S LOTS OF ROAD RAGE ON IT FROM TIME TO TIME. LET ME PROMPT THE NEXT PART OF OUR DISCUSSION BY READING SOMETHING THAT A PHYSICIAN WROTE IN THE ATLANTIC JUST THE OTHER DAY, AND HERE'S THAT EXCERPT...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Many forms of grief." The quote reads "Research on grief after large-scale casualties is scant, but the literature suggests that suffering personal losses can be particularly harmful when experienced in times of broader social stress.
The coronavirus pandemic brings stressors of its own. Especially for those worried about vulnerable elders, it brings a level of anticipatory grief, the form that appears when the death of a loved one appears inevitable. It also comes amid a sudden economic crisis and skyrocketing unemployment; the disconnection of people from their families, friends, and their usual routines; and the recognition that some of those routines will be permanently disrupted."
Quoted from Amita Kalalchandran, The Atlantic. April 13, 2020.

Steve says DAVID, HOW DOES THE GRIEF OF LOSING YOUR JOB, FOR EXAMPLE, DIFFER FROM THE GRIEF OF LOSING SAY AN IMPORTANT PERSON IN YOUR LIFE?

David says I TEND TO THINK ABOUT IT AS MICRO AND MACRO GRIEFS. IN OTHER WORDS, WE HAVE BIG GRIEFS AND WE HAVE SMALL GRIEFS, AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN. CERTAINLY THE DEATH OF A LOVED ONE IS THE WORST WE HAVE, AND YET SOMEONE WHO HAS LOST THEIR JOB IS DEFINITELY FEELING GRIEF. SOMEONE WHO CAN'T HAVE A WEDDING THAT THEY'VE BEEN PLANNING ON SINCE THEY WERE 5 YEARS OLD IS IN GRIEF. AND I TELL PEOPLE, ONE GRIEF DOESN'T TAKE AWAY FROM ANOTHER. YOU KNOW, WHEN SOMEONE IS HAVING TO TELL EVERYONE THEIR WEDDING IS OFF BECAUSE OF THE PANDEMIC AND THEY ARE IN DEEP SORROW ABOUT THAT, DOESN'T TAKE AWAY FROM MY LOSS. YOU KNOW, DIFFERENT LOSSES CAN EXIST TOGETHER.

Steve says IT'S OBVIOUSLY NOT A GOOD THING TO SAY TO THAT PERSON WHO HAS TO POSTPONE THEIR WEDDING, OH, FOR GOD SAKES GET OVER IT, THERE ARE PEOPLE DYING LEFT, FRONT, AND CENTRE ALL OVER THE PLACE.

David says RIGHT. AND PEOPLE OFTEN WANT TO KNOW WHAT IS THE WORST GRIEF AND MY RESPONSE IS ALWAYS: YOURS. WHATEVER YOU'RE DEALING WITH IS YOUR WORST GRIEF.

Steve says AND, ANDREA, WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO TACKLE THOSE SITUATIONS IF YOU'RE IN THE MIDST OF IT?

Andrea says I THINK ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS FOR PEOPLE TO KEEP IN MIND IS JUST MAKE SPACE FOR PEOPLE WITH GRIEF. OFTEN AT TIMES I FIND, PARTICULARLY WITH KIDS, BUT EVEN ADULT TO ADULT, WE WANT TO FIX IT, WE WANT TO MAKE IT BETTER, WE WANT TO TAKE AWAY THE PAIN. AND ONE OF THE MOST HELPFUL THINGS WE CAN DO IS JUST CREATE SPACE FOR IT. THE ART IS BEARING WITNESS TO ANOTHER'S SORROW AND NOT NEEDING TO RUSH IN AND TRY TO FIX IT. WHETHER IT IS A WEDDING OR HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION THAT'S NOT HAPPENING NOW OR WHETHER IT'S SOMEONE WHO HAS DIED.

Steve says YOU KNOW THAT'S A MALE THING, RIGHT? IT'S OUR INSTINCT TO GET IN THERE AND SOLVE EVERY PROBLEM, YOU KNOW, PARTICULARLY IF A FEMALE PARTNER HAS IT. THEY DON'T WANT TO HEAR THAT AT THIS MOMENT, RIGHT?

Andrea says EXACTLY. IT IS EXTRA WORK. FOR PEOPLE WHO IDENTIFY AS MALE, IT IS EXTRA WORK NOT TO FALL INTO THAT FIX-IT TRAP.

Steve says IS IT IMPORTANT IN FACT TO CALL IT GRIEF, BY THAT NAME?

Andrea says YOU KNOW WHAT? I TEND TO BE CAREFUL WITH THE WORD "GRIEF." THERE'S PEOPLE EXPERIENCING DISAPPOINTMENTS RIGHT NOW AS A RESULT OF COVID-19 AND THINGS LIKE THAT THAT I WOULDN'T NECESSARILY SAY ARE GRIEF. IT REALLY DEPENDS ON THE INDIVIDUAL PERSON'S EXPERIENCE. I FIND THAT WITH THE PANDEMIC, THERE'S SUCH A WIDE RANGE OF EXPERIENCES. THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE WHO ARE WELCOMING THE PAUSE AND SLOWING DOWN. THERE'S MANY PEOPLE WHO FINANCIALLY, THIS IS DEVASTATING, OR THEY'RE DEALING WITH ILLNESSES OR DEATHS THAT ARE ABSOLUTELY DEVASTATING. BUT I DO FIND THAT THE DANIEL SEGAL SORT OF TERMINOLOGY OF NAME IT TO... CAN BE REALLY POWERFUL. FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE STRUGGLING WITH SOME EMOTIONS AND LOSSES AS A RESULT OF THE PANDEMIC OR ANYTHING ELSE, I DO FIND IT CAN REALLY HELP TO NAME IT AS GRIEF AND REALLY THEM UNDERSTAND THAT THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO GRIEVE AND THAT CAN BE MORE CHALLENGING. I FIND QUITE OFTEN WITH A DEATH, WE TEND TO RECOGNIZE THAT A BIT MORE. BUT WHEN IT'S NON-DEATH-RELATED LOSSES, SOMETIMES PEOPLE DON'T RECOGNIZE IT SO MUCH AS GRIEF.

Steve says DAVID, LET ME GET YOU ON THAT AS WELL. I WOULDN'T CONSIDER THE DEATH OF A PERSON AND THE POSTPONEMENT OF A WEDDING TO BE EQUAL TRAGEDIES AND FOR SOME, I GUESS, THEY'RE GOING TO LABEL BOTH OF THEM GRIEF OR GRIEVOUS INCIDENTS IN THEIR LIVES. WHAT'S YOUR POINT OF VIEW?

David says I THINK IT IS UP TO THE PERSON. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT'S BEEN HELPFUL, PEOPLE HAVE BEEN GOING TO BED SAYING I DON'T KNOW WHY I'M SO SAD. I'M WAKING UP WITH A HEAVY FEELING. IT IS IMPORTANT TO NAME THAT SADNESS AS GRIEF. GRIEF IS A NO-JUDGMENT ZONE, IT'S A NO COMPARISON ZONE. OUR MIND WANTS TO COMPARE ALL OUR GRIEFS, AND THEY GET TO EXIST ON THEIR OWN, AND REALLY, TO RECOGNIZE EVERYONE'S GOING THROUGH A STRUGGLE WE KNOW NOTHING ABOUT, AND, YOU KNOW, TO TRY TO MINIMIZE OR FIX GRIEF DOESN'T WORK. THE REALITY IS, WHEN YOU ARE GRIEVING, YOU DON'T NEED FIXING BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT BROKEN. IT'S GRIEF. WE JUST HAVE TO ALLOW THAT SADNESS TO HAPPEN.

Steve says WELL, THIS IS A DOUBLY... I'M TRYING TO THINK OF THE RIGHT WORD TO USE HERE... BUT IT IS A DOUBLY TIMELY, I GUESS, OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE THIS CONVERSATION BECAUSE OF COURSE THE PEOPLE WATCHING AND LISTENING TO THIS RIGHT NOW ARE NOT JUST IN THE MIDST OF A COVID-19 PANDEMIC BUT FOR THOSE, WE HAVE TO A GREATER AND LESSER EXTENT, JUST EXPERIENCED THE WORSE MASS SHOOTING IN THIS COUNTRY'S HISTORY YESTERDAY, AND, DAVID, I AM JUST TRYING TO... I CAN'T GET MY HEAD AROUND THE NOTION OF HOW PEOPLE IN THIS VERY SMALL PROVINCE OF NOVA SCOTIA IN CANADA, YOU KNOW, A COUPLE HOURS' FLIGHT EAST OF HERE, ARE GOING... HOW ARE THEY GOING TO GET THROUGH OR WHAT IS THE ADVICE FOR THEM TO GET THROUGH NOT JUST A COVID-19 PANDEMIC THAT'S CHANGED THEIR LIVES, BUT THIS APPALLING INCIDENT THAT TOOK PLACE AS WELL?

David says WELL, THEY'RE CERTAINLY GOING TO NEED A LOT OF SUPPORT. YOU KNOW, TO HAVE SOMETHING SO HORRIFIC HAPPENING IN AN ABNORMAL TIME IS GOING TO MAKE IT EVEN HARDER TO DEAL WITH FOR THOSE FOLKS BECAUSE I THINK RIGHT NOW MOST OF US HAVE, AS WE'RE SORT OF HUNKERED DOWN IN OUR HOMES AND OUR HOUSES AND OUR APARTMENTS, WE HAVE A FEELING OF SAFETY, AND NOW TO HAVE THAT SAFETY VIOLATED, I THINK THAT THAT WILLED A ANOTHER LAYER TO THEIR PAIN THAT I'M SURE, YOU KNOW, NO ONE EXPECTS OBVIOUSLY A SHOOTING, BUT IT IS GOING TO BE DEVASTATING AND THEY ARE GOING TO REQUIRE... BECAUSE THEY'RE DEALING WITH GRIEF AND TRAUMA. YOU KNOW, I ALWAYS TALK ABOUT ALL GRIEF IS NOT TRAUMA BUT ALL TRAUMA HAS GRIEF. SO THEY'RE GOING TO BE DEALING WITH BOTH IN THE FUTURE.

Steve says ANDREA, CAN YOU WEIGH IN ON THAT AS WELL, THE LONG-TERM CONSEQUENCES AND IMPLICATIONS OF TRYING TO DOUBLY GRIEVE OVER TWO AWFUL THINGS AT THE SAME TIME?

Andrea says I THINK IT'S REALLY GOING TO DEPEND ON THE SUPPORT THAT PEOPLE GET DURING THIS TIME. SO THERE'S NO QUESTION... I MEAN, THIS IS DIFFICULT AND IT'S HORRIFIC AT AN ALREADY DIFFICULT TIME FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE. MY HOPE IS THAT PEOPLE STILL FIND WAYS TO CONNECT. YOU KNOW, THERE'S A HUMAN NEED TO CONNECT WITH EACH OTHER, ESPECIALLY AT TIMES OF TRAGEDY LIKE THIS. YOU KNOW, WE HAVE TO BE EXTRA CREATIVE IN DOING THAT NOW. AND I DO KNOW I'VE ALREADY SEEN SOME THINGS ONLINE AND IN THE NEWS, ONLINE MEMORIALS, ONLINE VIGILS THAT ARE HAPPENING AND THINGS LIKE THAT, WHICH I THINK ARE REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT, THAT WE'RE NOT, AS DAVID SAID, PUTTING THINGS OFF UNTIL LATER. THAT'S STILL GOING TO BE IMPORTANT. BUT IN THE MEANTIME, LET'S STILL FIND WAYS TO SUPPORT SOME PEOPLE AND MAKE SURE THAT... I KNOW A LOT OF GRIEF ORGANIZATIONS ARE DOING ONLINE WORK AND THINGS LIKE THAT AS WELL NOW. SO I THINK THE BIGGER INDICATOR IS GOING TO BE, DO PEOPLE GET THE SUPPORT THEY NEED RIGHT NOW? AND THAT'S NOT JUST PROFESSIONAL. JUST PEOPLE TO PEOPLE. I THINK ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS WE CAN DO WHEN PEOPLE DIE IN OUR LIFE IS CONTINUE TO TALK ABOUT THOSE PEOPLE. TELL STORIES. SHARE STORIES. GATHER STORIES AT TIMES LIKE THIS.

Steve says DAVID, I DON'T MEAN TO MAKE THIS QUESTION SO PERSONAL, BUT YOU HAVE BOTH SPOKEN ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF SUPPORT IN COMING TO TERMS WITH WHAT'S HAPPENED. BUT I CANNOT IMAGINE THAT EVEN ALL THE SUPPORT IN THE WORLD THAT YOU NO DOUBT GOT AFTER THE DEATH OF YOUR SON COULD EVEN THAT MUCH... AND IF YOU CAN'T SEE ME, I'M PUTTING MY TWO FINGERS A MILLIMETRE APART... COULD NOT ASSUAGE THE HORRIBLE FEELINGS THAT YOU MUST HAVE HAD AND STILL HAVE OVER HIS DEATH.

David says WELL, AND I DON'T SEE THOSE THINGS AS REALLY BEING EITHER/OR. THE TRUTH IS, EVERYONE WHO SHOWED UP, EVERYONE WHO WAS THERE, PEOPLE ACROSS THE WORLD WHO SENT ME PRAYERS AND LOVE... I MEAN, IT ALL TOUCHED ME DEEPLY. I DON'T THINK... OF COURSE, IT DOESN'T TAKE THE PAIN AWAY, BUT IT MEANT SO MUCH AND STILL MEANS SO MUCH TO ME. I WANT TO PICK UP ON WHAT YOU WERE BOTH SAYING ABOUT THE SUPPORT AND WHAT ANDREA WAS TALKING ABOUT. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE HAVE NOW DONE IS IT BROKE MY HEART TO SEE ALL THE GRIEF GROUPS ACROSS THE WORLD CANCELLED AND THEN PEOPLE NOT BEING ABLE TO BE WITH THEIR LOVED ONES AS THEY DIED AND STILL DYING OF MANY WAYS, COVID-19 AND OTHER WAYS. ONE OF THE THINGS I DID IS I SET UP AN ONLINE GRIEF GROUP, AND I WAS REALLY AMAZED... WE MEET TWICE A DAY LIVE, AND I WAS AMAZED ON THE FIRST DAY A THOUSAND PEOPLE ENTERED, AND RIGHT NOW WE HAVE OVER 8,000 PEOPLE. SO ANYONE WHO IS WATCHING THIS, HAD A DEATH OF A LOVED ONE AND FEELS ISOLATED AND ALONE AND NEEDS SOME SUPPORT, I HOPE THEY'LL CHECK THAT OUT AT GRIEF.COM AND IT'S A FACEBOOK GROUP THAT ANYONE WHO HAS HAD A DEATH CAN JOIN.

Steve says WHAT DID THAT RESPONSE TELL YOU?

David says IT TOLD ME PEOPLE ARE ISOLATED, HOME ALONE AND HURTING. YOU KNOW, THE REALITY IS, GRIEF ON A GOOD DAY, IN A NORMAL WORLD, IS ISOLATING. BUT THEN TO HAVE A SITUATION WHERE YOU'VE NOT BEEN ABLE TO SAY GOOD-BYE TO YOUR LOVED ONE OR THEY DIED A MONTH BEFORE, SIX MONTHS AGO AND YOUR GRIEF GROUP IS NOT THERE AND YOU HAVE TO SIT AT HOME WITH ALL YOUR FEELINGS, IS DEVASTATING.

Steve says ANDREA, I WANT TO ASK YOU ABOUT TWO DIFFERENT WORDS AND YOU TELL ME IF THEY'RE THE SAME THING OR IF THEY'RE RELATED TO EACH OTHER OR PERHAPS NOT CONNECTED AT ALL: GRIEF AND DEPRESSION. IS THERE A LINK?

Andrea says THEY ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS, BUT YOU CAN HAVE BOTH. GRIEF IS VERY MUCH... IT'S NON-PATHOLOGICAL. I OFTEN SAY TO FAMILIES, MY JOB IS NOT TO FIX YOUR BROKEN HEART BUT TO TEACH YOU HOW TO LIVE WITH A BROKEN HEART, RIGHT? THIS IS THE JOB. WE'RE NOT TRYING TO FIX GRIEF. IT IS A NATURAL RESPONSE TO A REALLY DIFFICULT SITUATION. YOU KNOW, WHEREAS DEPRESSION IS SOMETHING THAT OFTEN WE'LL TREAT IT AND MAYBE NOT MEDICATION, IT MIGHT BE WITH THERAPY OR BOTH. BUT YOU CAN ABSOLUTELY HAVE BOTH. AND THAT'S WHERE SOMETIMES THE KIDS THAT I WORK WITH WILL SAY, I KNOW I'M DEPRESSED. AND IT'S SO DIFFICULT BECAUSE I LOVE THAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THESE THINGS MORE OFTEN, BUT QUITE OFTEN THEY'LL SEE AT A PRESENTATION IN SCHOOL TALKING ABOUT SIGNS OF DEPRESSION AND EVERYTHING, AND IT REALLY OVERLAPS WITH GRIEF, BUT MY JOB IS TO HELP THEM UNDERSTAND THE GRIEF AND THE REASON THEY'RE FEELING ALL OF THESE THINGS IS BECAUSE THEY'VE HAD A REALLY SIGNIFICANT LOSS IN THEIR LIFE, AND THIS IS A NATURAL HUMAN RESPONSE TO THE SITUATION.

Steve says AND WOULD YOU EVER PRESCRIBE MEDICATION FOR GRIEF? WE KNOW YOU WOULD FOR DEPRESSION. BUT WHAT ABOUT FOR GRIEF?

Andrea says OH, THIS IS A HEAVILY WEIGHTED QUESTION. I PERSONALLY WOULDN'T BECAUSE AS A PSYCHOTHERAPIST, I CAN'T PRESCRIBE. YOU KNOW, THIS IS A MATTER OF A MASSIVE, MASSIVE DEBATE. BUT CERTAINLY... AND, DAVID, CORRECT ME AND JUMP IN AT ANY POINT IF YOU THINK I'M WRONG HERE. BUT IF SOMEBODY HAS SIGNS OF AN UNDERLYING DEPRESSION AND NOW IS GRIEVING A SIGNIFICANT LOSS, THEN ABSOLUTELY, YOU MIGHT PRESCRIBE MEDICINE OR A PHYSICIAN OR A PSYCHIATRIST MIGHT PRESCRIBE. BUT, YOU KNOW, FOR THE VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE THAT ARE GRIEVING AND DO NOT HAVE DEPRESSION, NO, MY... IT IS NOT ABOUT PRESCRIBING MEDICINE. IT IS ABOUT ACTUALLY MAKING SPACE FOR HOW DIFFICULT THAT IS. AND, STEVE, NO MATTER HOW MUCH SUPPORT, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO MAKE THAT PAIN GO AWAY, NO MATTER WHAT. THE HEARTBREAK IS GOING TO BE THERE. BUT I FIND THE AMOUNT OF SUPPORT YOU GET AND WHETHER PEOPLE ARE SHOWING UP OR NOT, IT SHAKES THE WHOLE STORY AROUND THE GRIEF, AND THAT CAN BE VERY POWERFUL.

Steve says DAVID, DID YOU WANT TO WEIGH IN ON THAT?

David says I WOULD. YOU DID A VERY GOOD JOB THERE, ANDREA. I JUST WANT TO ADD TO IT THAT, YOU KNOW, TO ME, THERE'S A WORD WE DON'T USE ANYMORE, AND THE WORD IS "SADNESS." I FIND THAT NOW SO MANY PEOPLE WILL GO, "OH, WE WERE SO DEPRESSED AT LUNCH TODAY. WE'RE FINE NOW." NO, YOU WERE SAD AT LUNCH YESTERDAY WHEN YOU HEARD THE BAD NEWS. AND SO WE HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN CLINICAL DEPRESSION, WHICH OFTENTIMES BY THOSE... AND I CANNOT PRESCRIBE EITHER... OFTENTIMES CLINICAL DEPRESSION, MEDICATIONS CAN BE HELPFUL. BUT GRIEF IS OFTEN SITUATIONAL DEPRESSION. SOMEONE DIED. THAT'S DEPRESSING. IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE. WE'RE SUPPOSED TO BE SAD WHEN SOMEONE DIES. AND SOMETIMES IT IS JUST TO BE WITH THOSE FEELINGS AND ALLOW THEM. BUT WE OF COURSE THINK WE'VE GOT TO GET RID OF THESE FEELINGS RIGHT AWAY. AND YOU CAN'T DO THAT WITH GRIEF.

Steve says LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT THIS TIME IN PARTICULAR, THOUGH, DAVID, WHICH IS... YOU KNOW, BEFORE COVID-19, IF SOMEBODY IN YOUR LIFE HAD BEEN EXPERIENCING SOMETHING THAT WAS SAD ENOUGH TO GRIEVE OVER, YOU KNOW, A COLLEAGUE'S LIFE OR A FRIEND'S LIFE OR ANOTHER FAMILY MEMBER'S LIFE MIGHT BE HAPPY ENOUGH THAT THEY WOULD BE ABLE TO PROVIDE THAT KIND OF SUPPORT. WE'RE KIND OF IN A SITUATION NOW WHERE EVERYBODY'S FORMER LIFE HAS SORT OF BEEN LOST TO A SIGNIFICANT EXTENT, IN WHICH CASE, HOW DO WE KIND OF OFFER THAT SUPPORT TO OTHER PEOPLE WHEN OUR OWN LIVES, YOU KNOW, ARE NOT THE SAME EITHER AND WE MAY NEED JUST AS MUCH SUPPORT AS THEY DO?

David says WELL, SURPRISINGLY, SOMETIMES HELPING IS HEALING. I MEAN, IT'S ONE OF THE THINGS, WHEN MY OWN SON DIED, WRITING THE BOOK "FINDING MEANING," AND REALLY THAT WAS SUCH A CATHARSIS FOR ME TO INTERVIEW SO MANY PEOPLE WHO ARE LOSSES AND I THINK IT HAPPENS WITH US THESE DAYS. IF YOU'RE HAVING A TOUGH TIME AND YOU'RE FEELING ALONE, OF COURSE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU WANT TO [indiscernible] BUT IF YOU REALIZE ALSO YOUR NEIGHBOUR'S HUSBAND DIED, A CALL TO THEM AND REACHING OUT CAN IRONICALLY MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER. SOMETIMES THERE'S A CONNECTION THAT HAPPENS IN GRIEF THAT HELPS US ALL, TO LET PEOPLE KNOW GRIEF MUST BE WITNESSED AND I'M HERE TO BE WITH YOU. I CAN'T PHYSICALLY BE WITH YOU, BUT I CAN VIRTUALLY BE WITH YOU, AND IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE TO EVERYONE.

Steve says HMM. ANDREA, DO YOU FIND IT MORE DIFFICULT TO SUPPORT PEOPLE THAN IN THE PAST GIVEN THAT, YOU KNOW, TO A REAL EXTENT, YOUR HANDS ARE TIED BEHIND YOUR BACK RIGHT NOW BECAUSE PRESUMABLY YOU'RE UNDER SOME KIND OF SELF-ISOLATION RIGHT NOW, YES?

Andrea says IT ACTUALLY GOES BOTH WAYS. FOR SURE THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE I WOULD SIT IN A ROOM WITH AND PROVIDE SUPPORT THAT WAY FOR THOSE I HAVEN'T HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO DO THAT WITH. ONE OF THE BEAUTIFUL THINGS COME OUT OF THE SITUATION IS A LOT OF SITUATIONS THAT USED TO BE LIMITED TO BIGGER CITY CENTRES AND STUFF LIKE THAT ARE NOW ONLINE AND OPENING UP GRIEF GROUPS FOR PEOPLE WHO... I MEAN, WE'VE ALWAYS HAD PEOPLE ISOLATED IN COMMUNITIES WHO DIDN'T HAVE ACCESS TO THE SAME SERVICES THAT OTHER PEOPLE IN URBAN AREAS MIGHT OR PEOPLE WHO ARE MORE WELL-RESOURCED MIGHT. AND I DO LIKE WE'RE SEEING SOME OF THOSE BARRIERS GET LOWERED BECAUSE WE CAN WORK WITH PEOPLE, WHETHER THEY CAN GET TO GUELPH OR TORONTO OR NOT, WE CAN WORK WITH PEOPLE WHEREVER THEY ARE. I THINK WE'RE GOING TO SEE MORE AND MORE OF THAT HAPPENING.

Steve says IT'S NOT THE SAME, THOUGH, IS IT?

Andrea says IT'S INTERESTING, STEVE. FOR SOME PEOPLE, IT'S ABSOLUTELY NOT. BUT THERE ARE EVEN A FEW KIDS THAT I'VE BEEN WORKING WITH IN MY PRACTICE AND I CAN HONESTLY SAY THEY MAY BE OPENING UP EVEN A LITTLE BIT MORE THAN THEY WOULD WHEN WE WERE IN THE SAME ROOM TOGETHER. I THINK THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT THEM BEING ABLE TO BE IN THEIR OWN SPACE, THERE BEING A SCREEN BETWEEN US, MIGHT FEEL A BIT SAFER. I'VE HAD PEOPLE COME BACK INTO MY PRACTICE THAT I PROBABLY WOULDN'T HAVE SEEN EITHER, THEY CAN JUST OPEN UP THEIR LAPTOP. THERE'S SOMETHING INCREDIBLY POWERFUL IN THE HUMAN TOUCH AND BEING ABLE TO BE IN ONE ANOTHER'S PRESENCE. SO MY HOPE IS WE'LL BE ABLE TO GET BACK TO BEING ABLE TO DO THAT AGAIN BEFORE TOO LONG. I ALSO THINK THIS IS OPENING UP OPPORTUNITIES THAT JUST WEREN'T THERE BEFORE, WHERE SO MANY PEOPLE DID NOT HAVE THE OPTION OF BEING WITH SOMEBODY, PARTICULARLY A PROFESSIONAL TOO WHO COULD SUPPORT THEM IN A WAY VIRTUALLY.

Steve says DAVID, I DO NEED TO ASK YOU ABOUT SOMEBODY WITH WHOM YOU COLLABORATED MANY YEARS AGO, ELIZABETH KUBLER ROSS, WHOSE FIVE STAGES OF GRIEF ARE EXTREMELY WELL KNOWN. DENIAL, ANGER, BARGAINING, DEPRESSION, ACCEPTANCE. YOU'VE ADDED A SIXTH STAGE, FINDING MEANING IN IT ALL. WHAT DOES THAT LOOK LIKE?

David says YES, AND I FIRST... YOU KNOW, HEAR ELIZABETH IN MY MIND. WE ALWAYS WANT TO TELL PEOPLE, THOSE STAGES ARE NOT LINEAR, THEY'RE NOT THE ONLY MODEL, YOUR GRIEF IS UNIQUE. THEY DO GIVE US SOME SCAFFOLDING, SOME STRUCTURE, TO SOMETHING KNOWN AS GRIEF. SO WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THOSE STAGES, ACCEPTANCE BEGAN TO TAKE ON A FINALITY, AS IF THE GRIEF WAS OVER SOME DAY. AND AS YOU MENTIONED EARLIER, AFTER MY OWN SON DIED, I DIDN'T WANT TO STOP AT ACCEPTANCE. I WANTED TO FIND MEANING. AND I WAS SO HONOURED THAT THE KUBLER FAMILY AND FOUNDATION GAVE ME PERMISSION TO ADD A NEW STAGE TO HER ICONIC STAGES THAT I THINK PEOPLE WANT TO FIND MEANING. THEY DON'T WANT PEOPLE TO DIE AND JUST ACCEPT THEM. THE MEANING DOESN'T TAKE AWAY THE PAIN, IT GIVES A CUSHION TO IT. AND THE MEANING IS NOT FOUND IN THE DEATH. THERE'S NO MEANING IN A COVID-19 DEATH TO BE FOUND. THERE'S NO MEANING TO BE FOUND IN, YOU KNOW, A SHOOTING. BUT MEANING IS WHAT WE CAN DO AFTER TO HELP OURSELVES, OTHERS, AND HONOUR THE PERSON WHO DIED AND THEIR LIFE.

Steve says WELL, I WAS GOING TO FOLLOW UP WITH THAT. WHAT KIND OF MEANING CAN ANY OF US TAKE FROM LET'S SAY THE DEATH OF A GRANDPARENT WHO DIES BY THEMSELVES IN A LONG-TERM CARE HOME WITH OUR NEVER REALLY BEING ABLE TO MAKE ANY FINAL CONTACT WITH THEM? I MEAN, THOSE ARE HARD CIRCUMSTANCES OUT OF WHICH TO FIND MEANING, AREN'T THEY?

David says THEY ARE. AND YOU'RE PROBABLY NOT GOING TO FIND MEANING IN THAT MOMENT, BUT MEANING IS GOING TO BE WHAT YOU DO AFTER. HOW DO YOU HONOUR THEIR LIFE? HOW DO YOU REMEMBER THEIR LIFE? YOU KNOW, WE ALWAYS TALK ABOUT, WHEN THEY DIED, A PART OF YOU DIED WITH THEM. BUT A PART OF THEM LIVES ON IN YOU. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO HONOUR THAT PART THAT LIVES ON IN YOU? HOW WILL YOU REMEMBER THEM? MAYBE YOU'RE GOING TO DO SOMETHING TO MAKE SURE NO ONE DIES ALONE LIKE THAT. THERE'S SOMEONE WATCHING NOW WHO MAY BE A SCIENTIST THAT'S MORE MOTIVATED TO GET ON TOP OF VIRUSES. WE HAVE NO IDEA ALL THE MEANINGS THAT WILL COME OUT OF THIS LATER. WE OFTEN TALK ABOUT POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW, POST-TRAUMATIC GROWTH HAPPENS MORE OFTEN, AND WE CAN TRY TO WORK TOWARDS THAT. AND WE GET THERE BY IDENTIFYING MEANINGFUL MOMENTS. STEVE, ANDREA, THIS IS A MEANINGFUL MOMENT WE'RE SHARING WITH SO MANY PEOPLE, JUST TO NAME THESE MOMENTS HELPS SO MUCH IN OUR FUTURE.

Steve says THAT IS A VERY GLASS HALF FULL WAY TO LOOK AT THINGS. ANDREA, I WONDER FOR THOSE WATCHING AND LISTENING RIGHT NOW WHO ARE GLASS HALF EMPTY PEOPLE, AND WE ALL KNOW LOTS OF THEM, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THEM TO GET THEM TO LOOK AT IT THE WAY THAT DAVID JUST DESCRIBED IT?

Andrea says YOU KNOW, I NEVER WANT TO PUSH PEOPLE OUT OF WHERE THEY ARE AND MAKE THEM FEEL LIKE THEY NEED TO GET TO THAT PLACE. I FIND THAT SOMETIMES PEOPLE JUST NEED THAT SPACE TO BE IN A REALLY HARD PLACE OF GRIEF AND ALLOW THEMSELVES TO PROCESS THAT. AND THEN, YOU KNOW, MORE CREATING THAT SPACE FOR THEM THAT THEY MAY COME TO A POINT... I'LL OFTEN ASK PEOPLE, WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THE PERSON WHO DIED? I ALWAYS SAY TO PEOPLE TOO ARE THERE THINGS YOU DON'T MISS ABOUT THE PERSON? THEY WERE HUMAN. WE'RE ALWAYS QUICK TO PUT PEOPLE WHO DIE ON A PEDESTAL. IT CAN BE HELPFUL FOR PEOPLE TO SAY, THESE ARE THE THINGS I REALLY MISS AND THESE ARE THE THINGS I DON'T MISS. AND THAT'S OKAY. IT DOESN'T MINIMIZE YOUR LOVE OR CONNECTION TO THE PERSON. SO, YOU KNOW, I THINK A LOT OF IT IS GIVING THEM THAT SPACE AND KEEPING THAT CONNECTION REALLY STRONG ABOUT, YOU KNOW, CONTINUING TO SHARE STORIES ABOUT THE PERSON WHO DIED. MAKING SURE FUTURE GENERATIONS GET TO KNOW THEM AND THINGS LIKE THAT. ONE OF THE THINGS I FOUND AS A NURSE AT THE BEDSIDE AS WELL IS THAT ONE OF THE BIGGEST FEARS IN PEOPLE WHO ARE DYING IS THAT THEY DON'T WANT TO BE FORGOTTEN. AND I THINK THAT'S A BIG PART OF OUR JOB AND A LOT OF MEANING CAN COME OUT OF THAT TOO, IS HELPING WITHIN OUR COMMUNITIES MAKING SURE THAT WE'RE REMEMBERING PEOPLE AND TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE AND CONTINUING TO LEARN FROM THEM AND JUST SORT OF NATURALLY HELPING PEOPLE GET TO A PLACE WHERE THEY CAN DO THAT.

The caption changes to "Producer: Cara Stern, @carastern."

Steve says WE ARE HAPPY TO RECOMMEND FOR MORE INFORMATION FOR THOSE OF YOU WATCHING OR LISTENING A BUNCH OF WEB SITES HERE. THERE IS GRIEF.COM WITH WHICH DAVID KESSLER IS ASSOCIATED AND HIS BOOK "FINDING MEANING: THE SIXTH STAGE OF GRIEF," A VERY IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTION TO THIS SUBJECT. AND ANDREA WARNICK'S WEBSITE HERSELF, ANDREAWARNICK.COM, AND THE WEBSITE FOR WHICH SHE IS THE PROJECT LEAD, KidsGrief.ca. LOTS OF GOOD INFORMATION AND RESOURCES IN ALL OF THOSE DIFFERENT MEDIA OUTLETS. THANKS SO MUCH TO BOTH OF YOU AGAIN. IT WAS GREAT TO TALK TO YOU ON TVO TONIGHT.

Andrea says THANKS STEVE.

Watch: How to Grieve During a Pandemic