To the editor:
I’ve had several conversations recently about the destabilizing quality of this phase of the pandemic. We’ve started the return to a daily routine: work, school, even a dinner out. We’re returning to the way things were before, yet we aren’t the way we were before.
We have experienced ongoing collective trauma, living through an era characterized by a staggering loss of life. Some of this loss has been public, like the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the murder of George Floyd. Some of it has been private, as we’ve each mourned loved ones lost to COVID-19.
We are grieving.
As a pastor and a therapist—and just a regular human person who has lived through the past 20 months — I know a few things about grief. Grief looks different for each person and for each loss. It can be exhausting. It can come out in anger or in confusion. But one thing is certain: grief is unavoidable.
There are many ways to attend to one’s grief. One way that I offer is public ritual and lament. We are almost in the liturgical season of Allhallowtide. It is a time for remembering and lamenting what has been lost. And we have collectively lost so much: loved ones, public figures, life events, opportunities.
I invite you to join me on the steps of Hyde Park Union Church, 5600 S. Woodlawn Ave., on Tuesday, Nov. 2, from 5 to 6 p.m. for All Souls’ Day. I will be there in my own grief. I will offer you a candle or a place to write your loved one’s name. Perhaps you will bring your grief, maybe even a photo or a flower. My prayer is that this ritual will remind us that we are irrevocably changed, but we are not alone.
The Rev. Sarah Lusche, LSW
Pastor, Hyde Park Union Church