A Different Summer

2020 will indeed bring a different kind of summer for everyone! A summer unlike any we’ve ever experienced. Each day of the pandemic brings new information and guidelines altering the delicate balance of our safety and security. Prior to this pandemic, our pre-summer agendas were all about filling our calendars with social gatherings: graduations, weddings, sporting events, vacations, reunions, festivals, concerts, and the like. We’ve waited all winter and spring for longer days, more daylight, and pleasant weather just to get outdoors and enjoy the fellowship of time with family and friends.

Social Distancing May Not Be Your Ally

But for those who are grieving, you simply may not want to be in the company of other people, most of whom don’t know what to say to you, may either avoid you or alternatively say all the wrong things to you, and yourself likewise. The social distancing called upon by this pandemic may actually be a welcomed respite for you to not have to deal with people, questions, and difficult emotions. Even so, it is critical to your well-being to not allow yourself to fall prey to despair or “self-imposed” social isolation. Even under the orders for physical distancing in this pandemic, we must find ways to maintain even a small amount of social connection through alternative ways. It is important to remember that distancing and isolation have two distinct roles: Distancing provides protection from the harmful virus, while isolation closes the door to healthy grieving. Keeping the doors of communication open, even in an altered mode, will allow emotional healing and growth to occur along your grief journey.

Secondary Loss

With the pandemic alone, our lives have more than a fair share of uncertainties and struggles due to loss of stability with our futures. We may have had changes to or loss of job structure/income, limited access to needed resources, social isolation from physical distancing, and fears about contracting or spreading the virus to our loved ones. Everyone is grieving some kind of loss. Add to these very real situations, having to deal with finding our way through grieving the death of someone dear, makes the coming summer season, anything but welcomed.

There’s Hope

But there’s hope for you. By refocusing our vision and our mindset, we can maneuver our way through these confusing days. First, it’s important to focus on what you know, despite what you can’t see ahead of you. Here’s a few truths to hang onto in the midst of the turmoil.

  • God is always in control; All knowing, all seeing, and all powerful, and is working things out for your favor. There is nothing impossible for God and His grace and mercy will carry you through any circumstance.
  • God is always with you, leading you step by step, even when you cannot feel Him.
  • You are loved and you ARE love.

With these truths as your anchor, you should be better able to redirect your view of the world to one of safety under God’s provision and find hope that brighter days are ahead. You will still experience some rough days along with the good ones, but just knowing that you are carried by the almighty hand of God will help you to know that the difficult seasons shall pass. God loves you and has great things still planned for your life, in His perfect timing, and in your season of blossoming.

Make a Plan

Here are a few ideas for experiencing a good summer, but the possibilities are endless:

  • Plant a beautiful garden (or even a single flower) in honor of your departed loved one.
  • Donate your time/skills to help someone in need.
  • Write a blog (or a book) about your grief journey.
  • Play a musical instrument outdoors for others to hear.
  • Write letters or send greeting cards to health care workers, first-responders, or those in the military.
  • Bake cookies or desserts and share or gift them.
  • Make phone calls to shut-ins just to say hello and ask how they are doing or if they have need of anything.
  • Order door dash to be delivered to a friend (or a few friends) and schedule a virtual lunch or dinner.
  • Host a socially distant event with your neighbors: cookout, music festival, yoga or line-dancing.
  • Pay it forward for someone in line behind you at the drive-through.
  • Go for a day drive and sight see (take pictures like a tourist); Try a park, a lake, or a local botanical garden
  • like Stan Hywet (Akron), Brandywine (Sagamore Hills), Holden Arboretum (Kirtland). (Note: Call ahead for
  • information about restricted visiting hours, closed walking paths, and restricted restroom facilities)
  • Treat yourself to a meal at a top of the line local restaurant that you’ve always wondered about.
  • Have a movie night at home complete with popcorn and snacks.
  • Visit loved ones at the cemetery. Bring a chair or a blanket and have a picnic lunch there.
  • Give someone a SMILE, even if you don’t feel like it.

In order to better navigate this pandemic summer, it is always best to have a plan. A flexible plan, and even an alternate plan, but still a plan. Give to this summer, what you would like it to be. If you would like a summer of healing, peace, and tranquility, then plan for it. If you would like a summer of exploration, start with an internal exploration and let it spill over to your external world. There are many creative ways to discover and enjoy the giftedness of our world even while being physically distant and protective. We have the opportunity to see new ways of being alive to God’s plans for us. It may involve reaching outside of your normal box and learning a new
skill or stepping beyond the pain of grief, but there can be joy in the midst of the storms of our lives. Be that gift to someone else. Reach out and make one person’s life a little brighter by sharing your gift to the world. Share the
gifts of your departed loved ones too. That keeps their legacy alive and flourishing.

Just remember, this is but a “season”. Each season presents us with an opportunity for growing closer to God’s loving embrace and finding your new purpose even in the midst of the storms.

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Post was written by Rhonda Abrams, CCA Bereavement Coordinator

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