Cards for their memory: acknowledging grief and honouring lost loved ones

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In this blog, Lauren tells us how she copied with grief during a pandemic, and the innovative new project she’s started to connect grievers and help us all remember our loved ones.

I lost my mom, Diana, to Leukemia on December 13, 2019, six months after her diagnosis. My world was shattered and I felt completely lost and empty without her in my life. As I was going through the initial shock and trying to make sense of a life without my mom, a worldwide pandemic decided to welcome itself into my early stages of grief. What the heck is a pandemic? Oh you know, that thing that shuts the whole country and world down and quarantines people to their homes. Oh great, exactly what every griever needs. Isolation!

A pandemic during the first year of grief

The first year is the first year you are doing everything without the person you lost. Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Birthdays, and all the other things that happen in that first year without them. You are basically learning a new you. Finding a new purpose. Learning to walk all over again. But let’s throw a pandemic on top of that and make your first year of grief even more difficult. 

I was quarantined to my mom’s house without her but with all her things

While everyone was in quarantine during the pandemic, I was alone in my mom’s house. Going through her things and cleaning out her home. I wasn’t able to have her friends or my friends come over and open a bottle of wine to make it less painful to clean out her closest. I wasn’t able to escape from the house for a few hours and meet a friend for a workout or to get a pedicure. I was quarantined to my mom’s house without her but with all her things. Surrounded by all her stuff, but she wasn’t in the kitchen cooking our favourite meal.

Changing the way I connected

I was walking through my grief journey with a blindfold on during the pandemic, as I think most grievers were. While working through my grief, I had to pivot and shift my way of connecting with individuals. I started journaling and writing, which eventually brought me to blogging on my website to connect with other grievers. I made some great connections and found a lot of support from the social media grief communities.

This lead me to creating a grief project called “Cards for Their Memory,” where grievers receive a personalized card from me in the mail on the anniversary date of when their loved one passed away. When someone passes away, in the early stages of grief, there is a lot of support and love from so many people. However as time moves on, people can show up less and stop acknowledging your grief. The idea of my grief project is to acknowledge someone’s grief and honour their loved one that has passed away, even years later. This project has not only allowed me to help others that are grieving but has given me purpose again in life and in turn has helped me along my grief journey.

If you are interested in learning more about my grief project, visit my website at www.grieffrom30kfeet.com

Isolation doesn’t have to mean complete and total isolation. Our world today has given us the ability to connect through FaceTime, Zoom chats, social media and online communities with our loved ones, friends and other grievers. Sometimes you just have to think outside the box to find a way to have human contact during a pandemic. 

Lauren McCowin