Why We Grieve Over People We Don’t Know
Providing grief resources is among the cremation services offered in Phoenix, AZ. Hearing the stories of the people who’ve contracted COVID-19 and those who have died from COVID-19 is impossible to avoid because it fills the news wherever we turn.
Whether it’s seeing the bodies put into temporary morgues in New York City or seeing bodies stacked up in a hospital room in Detroit, each one of those people who have died from COVID-19 had a life and a story that went along with those lives. There’s grief in knowing that they died. There’s grief in watching how they died. There’s grief in watching what happens to them when they’ve died. There’s grief in knowing that they died alone, without family or friends by their side.
That grief becomes personal to us, even when we don’t even know the names of these people, because we relate to them. That could be us. That could be our loved ones. We hurt for them and we hurt for us, and the produces grief.
Many times, we’ll see someone’s story highlighted in the news. One example of that is Jess Fajardo of Odessa, TX who died from COVID-19 at the age of 30. When Fajardo was first diagnosed with COVID-19, doctors were optimistic that she would recover completely because she was young and healthy.
For a while, Fajardo seemed to be improving. Her daily lung xrays showed that they were getting clearer. Her fever finally broke, and doctors felt like she’d turned the corner.
However, suddenly, Fajardo began to experience a lot of difficulty breathing. She told her parents that it felt like trying to breath under water. Doctors put her on a ventilator for a week and Fajardo seemed to stabilize.
But as doctors began to remove the ventilator, they realized that Fajardo’s esophagus was so swollen that it immediately closed up and she was unable to breathe at all. They made the decision to put the ventilator back in and put her back on oxygen. While they were doing that, Fajardo had a heart attack and died.
Most of us never knew Jess Fajardo. Yet her story sounds like our stories or the stories of people we love, so we identify with Jess. We identify with her family and her friends who are grieving her death. We grieve for Jess and we grieve with her loved ones, even though most of us have ever met any of them.
Grief is universal. When we hear the stories of others’ grief, especially in these days when we are surrounded by them and they do seem very personal, even if we don’t know these people, we grieve.
Grief for others, even when we don’t know them or their loved ones, is a product of empathy. Empathy is the ability to walk in someone else’s shoes, to be kind and compassionate with what they are experiencing, and to support and encourage them, whether it’s up close and personal or from afar.
Empathy, it seems, has been in short supply in our modern, busy lives where we’ve been so consumed with ourselves and our own that we’ve had little time to pay attention to what’s going on around us. COVID-19 has forced a stop to that busyness, and if one good thing has emerged, it’s an awakening of empathy in more people.
For more information about grief resources and cremation services offered in Phoenix, AZ, including grief resources, our caring and knowledgeable staff at Simply Cremations & Funeral Arrangements is here to assist you.