When Alice’s* husband died in a New York City hospital at the beginning of the pandemic, she lost her lifetime partner of 31 years and her best friend.
Since her husband had tested positive for Covid-19 before he died, doctors told Alice she should consider herself positive and quarantine.
“That means more isolation at a time when loss is so fresh,” Alice says.
Like many other Jewish families who lost loved ones during the pandemic, Alice was unable to turn to the traditional tools of Jewish mourning that countless generations have relied on for comfort.
So she looked for other sources of support and reached out to the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, a UJA partner that provides New Yorkers with a range of health and human services.
“The Jewish Board responded immediately,” Alice says. “They assigned a talented bereavement support counselor to work with me individually until a support group started.”
Alice and her counselor met one on one through Zoom for several weeks.
“I was a little skeptical about meeting through Zoom,” she admits, “but it was shockingly effective.”
Alice has since joined a bereavement support group that the Jewish Board recently started.
Grief charts its own path of emotional ups and downs, yet spousal grief during a pandemic is compounded by more challenges — ranging from getting death certificates when funeral homes are overwhelmed to getting a bank to change accounts into the survivor’s name.
As so many walk through their journey of grief during this time, compassionate support helps individuals through the twists and turns of sorrow — and ensures that they are not alone.
* Name changed for privacy