Communal Grief June 11, 2020

Communal Grief George Floyd

Coming out of isolation to grieve as a community.


Communal grief happens after a natural disaster, act of terrorism or the death of a public figure.  Half way through 2020 it has become a bit of a joke of all the terrible things that have happened this year already. Deadly wildfires in Australia, the death of Kobe Bryant, Coronavirus and the all allusive “killer bees”. If that wasn’t enough, the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer, provoked generations of deep anger, pain and grief over the racial injustice and disparity. 


This year has been a year of unbelievable loss. As a society we have so much to grieve together. The most recent being the death of George Floyd as well as the destruction and unrest in our communities.  


The Coronavirus has been taxing on physically, mentally and economically.  The pain,and uncertainty has created a communal grief. For the first time in history the entire globe is feeling the effects and going through it together.  


When we share the experience we all grieve together

Over the past week every state in the nation held protests of some form in relation to the death of George Floyd. People all over the world are coming together to stand up against racism. Along with peaceful protests there have been a lot of controversy, rioting, looting and destroying of property.  All of these come along with a lot of intense emotions, feelings of loss and communal grief.  


Grief is different for everyone. Surely family members and friends of the deceased grieve because their loss will be felt in the physical. The man whom they spent time with and had a relationship with, will no longer be there as he once was.  The vast majority of us did not know him personally but a relationship was created between us and Mr. Floyd as we watched in horror as he cried out for his mother saying, “I can’t breathe”. We did not know him but seeing a man in the last moments of his life revealed a human connection we all share. 


He should not have had to die and people should not have had to lose jobs and lose businesses. Nobody should have to worry about whether they are safe when they walk out their door. These world events have brought us to a place like no other time in history where we are grieving together.


Communal Grief as a path to healing. 

Communal grieving can be a great way to heal.  Standing side by side (or maybe 6 feet apart) with one another as we each express our pain and grief over all that is lost.  Going to a public memorial and placing flowers there. Or volunteering to help others going through the same grief.  Feeling the pain and imaging how he felt in that moment and how his loved ones are feeling now without him. The pandemic and the protesting on behalf of George Floyd has brought much loss and destruction but the communal grieving has started a process of healing. It has brought out humanity in so many people. 


Isolation has been a struggle for many during the pandemic but many have come together for a cause that could change the trajectory of the planet.  It’s almost as if the communal grieving after having been so isolated is a place of hope for the future.

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