Video: Grief, With Nowhere to Go

Speaker: Latoya Plater

Welcome, and thank you for joining me today. I am LaToya Plater, Senior Manager of Disability Support Services at Dallas College, El Centro College Campus and owner of Serenity of Life Counseling Services, PLLC, in Dallas, Texas. The coronavirus pandemic is a global public health emergency and has many of us feeling overwhelmed, isolated, and alone. Coping with loss is difficult, but in the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 elections, US government leadership, race relations, crime and violence, judicial systems, or the-economy, it's even harder. Today, we will explore very sensitive subjects, and I encourage each of you to demonstrate self-care throughout the presentation. Also, be sure to take notes to support follow-up questions. Let's reflect on a few questions about death and grief. How would you define death? Why do most people dislike talking and thinking about death? What positive and negative statements could you make about your life thus far? What are some ways people deny that death is a part of everyone's life? What do you fear most about dying?

This session will provide participants with tools to understanding grief and their effects impacted by COVID-19. Coronavirus, what is grief? The grieving process, stages of grief, emotional and physical symptoms of grief, how to develop healthy coping skills, infants and children, seeking professional help, and access to healing and recovery resources. Coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, November the 16th, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, reported the following United States COVID-19 cases and deaths by state. Total cases, 10,984,398 plus 138,025 new cases, cases in the last seven days, per 100,000 were 46.2. Total deaths were 245,417 plus 660 new cases. In Dallas County, the Texas Health and Human Services reported on November 14, 2020, Dallas County experienced 1,379 fatalities resulting from COVID-19, since March 7, 2020. The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is to be well-informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes, and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from the infection by complying with the CDC recommendations, wearing a mask, washing your hands, using an alcohol-based rub frequently, not touching your face, etc. the pandemic has forced the open awareness that there are multitudes of losses beyond the loss of life. What is grief?

Grief is the natural emotional response resulting from a significant loss, especially when something or someone you love is taken away. You may experience all kinds of difficult and unexpected emotions from shock or anger to disbelief, guilt, or profound sadness. The pain of grief can also disrupt your physical health, make it difficult to sleep, eat, or even think straight. These are normal reactions to loss, and the more significant the loss, the more intense your grief will be. Losses in life. Coping with the loss of someone or something you love is one of life's biggest challenges. COVID-19 has caused many to experience other types of sort of losses, triggering symptoms associated with grief, including divorce, a relationship breakup, loss of health, losing a job, loss of financial stability, decrease in hours or demotions, a miscarriage, retirement. I'm not ready to retire. What will I do next? Death of a pet, loss of a cherished dream; 2020 vacations canceled. Next year, I planned to apply for a promotion, and now the company is closing. I was planning to complete my degree this fall, etc. A loved one's serious illness, loss of a friendship, unable to fellowship in work environments, community or religious involvements, political indifferences, racial/human rights beliefs, etc. Loss of safety after a trauma. If I go to work, I'm putting myself and my family at risk. Although I'm afraid to return to work, I need my job to support my family.

Will my employer provide personal protective equipment, PPEs, to keep me safe, etc.? Selling the family home, or being forced into foreclosure, freedom and flexibility to make your own choices. I'm not wearing this stupid mask. I will continue to go wherever I desire. The CDC or no one else is going to keep me from traveling on my annual vacation, etc. Graduating from college, changing jobs, schools, not being in control of your life, and overall, your identity. Whatever your loss, it's personal to you. So, don't feel ashamed about how you feel or believe that you're limited to grieve only certain things. It's normal to grieve the loss you're experiencing by grieving yourself, by giving yourself permission to grieve equals release. The grieving process. Everyone grieves different. There's no right or no wrong way to grieve. How you grieve depends on your personality and your coping style, your life experience, your faith, what you were taught in your home about death and dying as a child, and how significant the loss was to you. The grieving process takes time, as healing happens gradually. Grief doesn't have an expiration date or a timeframe.

The three processes include acute, complicated, and integrated grief. Acute grief, it occurs immediately after a loss and for months afterwards. It's normal to have intense symptoms of shock, distress, sadness, poor appetite, sleep trouble, poor concentration. These symptoms will slowly diminish with the passage of time. Complicated grief, it occurs sometimes when the symptoms of acute grief never seem to go away. They can last for years. The loss of the loved one continues to feel unreal and unmanageable. You might constantly yearn for the deceased or experience guilt about the idea of moving on and accepting the loss. Integrated grief presents after resolving the most intense symptoms of acute or complicated grief.

At this point, you have come to accept the reality of the loss, and you've resumed daily life activities. This doesn't mean that you miss your loved ones any less or that you don't feel the pain at their memory. You've just learned how to cope. Acute grief may show itself again, especially around the holidays, anniversaries, and other reminders. Some people may start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process may not be experienced for years following the loss. It's important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold. For example, I once worked with a female client who had to administer CPR to a coworker who was experiencing a heart attack. Following this experience, she displayed symptoms of PTSD and began to process the stages of grief for the loss of her mother five years earlier. Until this incident, she had not realized that she never really processed losing her mother, and yes, the coworker survived and was forever grateful to her colleague's heroic act.

Let's review this clip-on myths and facts about grief. Next, we will explore the five stages of grief. (Myths and Facts About Grief music - YouTube)

Speaker: LaToya Plater

In 1969, psychologist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross introduced what became known as the five stages of grief. These stages of grief were based on her studies of the feelings of patients facing terminal illness, but many people have generalized them to other types of negative life changes and losses, such as the death of a loved one or a breakup. Denial. In this stage, we refuse to believe what happened. It's associated with avoidance, confusion, elation, shock, or fear. This can't be happening to me. Anger. Anger is displayed through frustration, irritation, and anxiety. Why is this happening? Who is to blame? Someone is going to pay for this. In the bargaining stage, we may try to make a deal to have our loved ones back, as if they were before the tragic event even occurred.

This happens in struggling to find meaning, reaching out to others, telling one's story. Make this not happen, and in return, I will, blank. Depression. Depression is the most difficult stage to deal with. The outcome for people is to experience being overwhelmed, helpless, hostile, or may have flight behaviors. I'm too sad to do anything. Random outbursts of tears may also occur. The last stage is acceptance. Acceptance happens when you can accept your loss and now be able to regain your energy in goals for the future, exploring options, new plans in place, moving on, etc. I'm at peace with what happened.

Not everyone who grieves experiences all these stages, and that's okay. You do not have to go through each stage in order to heal and recover. Our grief is as individual as our lives, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. Emotional symptoms of grief. While loss affects people in different ways, many of us experience the following symptoms when we're grieving. Just remember that almost anything you experience in the early stages of grief is normal including feeling like I'm going crazy, feeling like you're in a bad dream and you just wish that someone would wake you up, while questioning your religious or spiritual beliefs.

Let's take a look at this clip on the physical impact of grief, signs, and symptoms. (The Physical Impact of Grief (Signs and Symptoms) - YouTube)

Speaker: Laura Kelly

Hi, there, my name's Laura Kelly, and I'm a spiritual grief coach. I'm so glad to be here with you today and thank you again for tuning in to my channel. If you find these videos helpful, I invite you to subscribe. Thank you for being here with me today. So, today is a topic that I'm very passionate about, it's something that we need to be really aware of when we're going through the grieving process. I get asked this question all the time. How can grief manifest physically in my body? When we are grieving, we are suffering. We are feeling anxiety, sadness, depression, deep despair, fear, and it goes on and on, okay? And whatever you're experiencing right now, I would love for you to post in the comments below. It would mean a lot to me. So, when we are grieving, we are really not in alignment at all. We feel unaligned. We feel disconnected, and then, when we feel disconnected, our health suffers. So, really, our life feels incomplete. We feel incomplete within ourselves, and we feel that there's a hole in our hearts, and physically, psychologically, and emotionally we are suffering. So, the number-one place that illness manifests, is in our hearts.

Our heart is broken, and our heart is suffering. We might physically feel the pain, but also, our heart feels like it's being blocked. So, grief and loss, when we are going through unprocessed feelings, it will lead to disease. So, this is why it's so important that we move through our grief, feel all the emotions and the pain that shows up for us. When we block everything in, then it's going to come out in a different way, which isn't always something nice. So, some of these symptoms can be heart related issues, high blood pressure, high cholesterol. It could be heart attacks, asthma, lung issues. A lot of respiratory issues will form, and then also, because it's in this area, breast cancer. So, ladies and gentlemen, please do yourself examinations. It's so important that we take care of ourselves. So, it's just part of our body is not in alignment, that could be very dangerous. So, keeping our heart center in energetic alignment needs to be the focus. So, I invite you today to look within yourself. How are you feeling? Do you think it's time you might make an appointment with your doctor, your physician? Just make sure that your health is not suffering, okay? Be aware of that. Our immune systems are down when we are grieving. So, take care of you. Sending so much love. If you have any more questions, please post in the comments below. I always check in. I always respond. I am here for you, and you are not alone in this grief journey. Sending you love [blowing a kiss], bye.

Speaker: LaToya Plater

So, recap, the emotional symptoms of grief one may experience, shock and disbelief, sadness, guilt, anger, or fear. With the rise of COVID-19 cases and fatalities, the impact of abstract losses has also increased symptoms associated with anticipatory grief and survivor's guilt. Considering the restrictions designed to stop the spread of infection, most people just need to be heard and require nonverbal comforting that requires some kind of physical interaction that is difficult in a pandemic. Grief is being suppressed with nowhere to go. Anticipatory grief. Anticipatory grief occurs before death, is common among people who are facing the eventual death of a loved one, or their own death. Anticipatory grief is not often discussed. Some people find it socially unacceptable to express the deep pain they are experiencing and fail to receive the support they need.

The emotions that accompany anticipatory grief are similar to those which occur after a loss. They can be even more like a roller coaster at times. Some days may be really hard, really hard. While other days, you may not experience grief, at all. These feelings of loss and pain stem from imagining what life would be like without a loved one, fear of losing our independence or our social life. Perhaps even the dying person may feel a sense of fear and isolation that is a form of preparatory grief. Those emotions that may involve include anger, anxiety, depression, desire to talk. Loneliness can result in a strong desire to talk to someone, anyone who might understand how you feel and listen without judgment. If you don't have a safe place to express her grief, these emotions can lead to social withdrawal or emotional numbness to protect the pain in your heart. To fulfill this need during COVID-19, consider the following to engage with others. Social media, old-time telephone calls, virtual meetings, instant messaging, outdoor meetings, just to allow an opportunity to release your feelings, emotional numbness, fatigue, fear, guilt, loneliness, poor concentration, or forgetfulness, or even sadness. Anticipatory grief also has some characteristic signs and symptoms that are distinct from normal grief. During the peak of COVID-19, adults of any age with pre-existing health conditions were at an increased risk of severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19 are called into the CDC.

Cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, health conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies, immunocompromised state, weakened immune systems from solid organ transplants, obesity, severe obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, smoking, or type II diabetes. Individuals diagnosed with these conditions were more likely to experience anticipatory grief compared to others with no pre-existing health conditions. Ways to cope with anticipatory grief. While anticipatory grief is normal, acknowledge your feelings of fear and loss and remind yourself that they are normal in the situation. It does not mean you have given up or that you love the dying person any less. Turn to books and support groups for caregivers. Books and caregiver support groups can be a great comfort and offer coping strategies to make it through day to day. Express your pain. Find an outlet to comfort your feelings, whether it's a trusted family member or friend, a spiritual leader, and in person or online support group, or some other way of expressing yourself like artwork, reignite lost hobbies, journaling, or meditation. Practice forgiveness and love. Although painful in so many ways, a terminal illness offers you time to say I love you, to share your appreciation, and to make amends when necessary. When a death occurs unexpectedly, people often regret not having a chance to do these things.

Advisors help guide that on. Also, sometimes, the dying person hangs on because of the feeling that others aren't ready to let them go. Given them permission to die, knowing that you will carry on, can't impart a sense of profound relief. Spend time together now. Make the most of the time that we have with our loved ones. Make that time meaningful, not only attending to practical matters, but spending time together in ways that are significant to you and to your loved one, whether that's going through photos, going for a ride or a walk, dancing, singing together, playing their favorite games, visiting with other family members, or simply just being there makes a great difference. Survivor's guilt. According to Medical News Today, survivor's guilt is a mental condition that occurs when a person believes that they have done something wrong by surviving a traumatic or tragic event, when others did not, often feeling self-guilt. How many of you remember the five-movie series, Final Destination? We saw a lot of that in that movie.

The symptoms are associated with posttraumatic stress disorder, PTSD. Among survivors of combat, epidemics, murder, natural disasters, rape, terrorism, among the friends and family who have died by suicide, and in non-mortal situations. For example, how many of you know someone, or yourself, who was in the same environment with someone who had been diagnosed with COVID-19, but you tested negative. How did you process your feelings once learning of the impact it had on that person process life? Survivors may often question why they escaped death, while others lost their lives or became ill. They may also wonder whether there was something they could have done to prevent the traumatic event or preserve life.

Let's review a clip on a war veteran's story of survivor's guilt and redemption. (A war veteran's story of survivor's guilt -- and redemption - YouTube)

Speaker: PBS Commentator

Two decades of US wars in the Middle East have taken a heavy toll on those who served. One consequence of the conflict is still not well understood. Survivor's guilt. Former Sergeant, Adam Linehan served in Iraq and Afghanistan as an Army medic. He's now a journalist, one of his most recent articles was published in the New York Times, and it was titled, "I Watched Friends Die in Afghanistan. The Guilt Has Nearly Killed Me." Linehan recently sat down with our Nick Schifrin.

Speaker: Nick Schifrin

As you sit here, you feel guilty about surviving.

Speaker: Adam Linehan

I don't feel guilty about surviving. I feel guilty that I'm on camera talking about my deployment.

Speaker: Nick Schifrin

Because other people can't be doing that?

Speaker: Adam Linehan

Yeah, yeah, because other people can't. Guilt is kind of a catalyst. You know, you come back feeling guilty, and so you start drinking, you know, to repress it. You know, maybe start, in my case, like, you know, abusing drugs. For me, it just felt like nihilism. What's the point of being alive?

Speaker: Nick Schifrin

Take me back to 2010, and take me back to Kandahar, and tell me what happened in the villages of [inaudible].

Speaker: Adam Linehan

One day, they had us with the suicide bomber, then we just were completely blindsided by that. The guy walked right up to my squad leader, and it killed five people, and it wounded, you know, several more. And I remember thinking like immediately, I'm in some way kind of responsible for this.

Speaker: Nick Schifrin

You had 18 people killed during your deployment, right? That's a lot of people.

Speaker: Adam Linehan

Yeah, our battalion loss, yeah, 18, 18 people.

Speaker: Nick Schifrin

What you experience was traumatic, and it deeply affected you. How much despair did you go through?

Speaker: Adam Linehan

The way it manifested for me was, I mean, drinking, you know. Alcoholism is the problem in my family, on my father's side of the family, and my grandfather kind of set the tone for that, you know, when he came back from World War II. And so, I just kind of maybe that was just the subconscious blueprint that I had to follow. And so, I drank an excessive amount. Drug abuse, right? I was like well, why am I going to go get -- you know what's the point of getting enrolled in the VA is going and seeing, going to a therapist and stuff, because they're going to tell me that, you know, life is worth living? Like show me the evidence.

Speaker: Nick Schifrin

At this point, you understand that some of the guilt he felt was irrational. You talk about existential survivor guilt being resistant to logic. What does that mean, and why is it resistant to logic?

Speaker: Adam Linehan

So, if you ask me if I felt guilty for anything, I did in Afghanistan around the time that I started to kind of have this breakdown. I would've said no. The guilt is masking something else, because when I was over there and I saw these things, I felt afraid, but I didn't feel sad. And so, I thought, you know, I don't have a right to say I have PTSD, because when I thought happen, I didn't feel anything. I was numb.

Speaker: Nick Schifrin

Meaning you know guys who went through worse.

Speaker: Adam Linehan

Yeah, trauma was a guy getting his leg blown off or people getting shot or people getting killed. That's traumatic. Simply witnessing it, I mean, there are light years between those two experiences. And so, me kind of -- that's something I wrestle with a lot.

Speaker: Nick Schifrin

How did you lose the feeling of doom?

Speaker: Adam Linehan

I remembered that when I left Afghanistan, I had this really kind of like life was incredible, and you know, you see people do bad things, but you also see people do just extraordinarily good things, you know? So, it's good to be reminded of that, you know? And trying to get back a little bit of that way that I felt, because at the end of the deployment, you just, you're looking forward to life.

Speaker: Nick Schifrin

And it seems to me that this is where your grandfather's story comes in.

Speaker: Adam Linehan

So, my grandfather was a B-24 pilot in Europe and, you know, he flew somewhere between 44 and 50 missions and, you know, he flew D Day with the 8th Air Force. He came home. His brother came home from the Pacific, and they started a company together, and it was really successful. And somewhere around kind of the age I am now, things, you know, started to, you know, turn in the other direction, and when it happened, it happened really fast. I mean, if you don't have any other ways of coping with this stuff, if you don't believe that there is any other way to cope with it, well, you're just going to continue drinking. I mean, my grandfather didn't see the point of getting sober.

Speaker: Nick Schifrin

Do you feel, at some point, you realized there was a point of staying sober?

Speaker: Adam Linehan

Yeah, I mean, at some point, I realized that if I just keep doing what I'm doing, my life is going to turn out like his.

Speaker: Nick Schifrin

And so, you realized as you write, "that moving on isn't running away." What does that mean?

Speaker: Adam Linehan

For me, that was like a really profound realization. I was trying to put as much distance between myself and all of the kind of the guilt and drama of going to war the inevitable. The people who got wounded and killed, even the personal dramas between people who were living so closely together and get to know each other. You know, you feel like you're kind of abandoning them. You know, just repress the memory of them, too, and sever contact and stuff. And so, reconnecting has been like a -- has been incredible.

Speaker: Nick Schifrin

So now you've made those contacts. You've thought about what you've done?

Speaker: Adam Linehan

Yeah.

Speaker: Nick Schifrin

You understand it a little bit more.

Speaker: Adam Linehan

I understand little bit more. That's all there is, you know. You understand a little bit more. That is, in itself, can just dial the pressure down, and you just kind of shift your way of thinking about these things and you'll see that there are other -- you'll see possibilities.

Speaker: Nick Schifrin

Someone who's felt the despair that you felt when they read this piece, what understanding do you want them to have?

Speaker: Adam Linehan

The stuff that you saw over there and what you learned over there about yourself, about the way that the world works, it doesn't go away. You're never going to build forget that. So, you have to figure out how to integrate that wisdom into your life, because that's what it is. It's wisdom if you let it be. The challenge is to be able to carry that gracefully with courage to be an example for other people, and I think like you can really become somewhat extraordinary if you are able to kind of leverage that for good. So, I think that's what I want them to understand.

Speaker: Nick Schifrin

Adam, the piece you've written is extraordinary.

Speaker: Adam Linehan

Thank you.

Speaker: LaToya Plater

Thank you to the men and women who have served and currently are serving in our nation's military. Thank you. Coping with the pain. There are ways to help cope with the pain, come to terms with your grief, and eventually, find a way to pick up the pieces and move on with your life. Accept and allow the feelings. Accept, allow, and acknowledge the feelings that surface. What comes up is essential to come out. Take time to process the guilt, grief, and fear and loss that accompany a traumatic event and the loss of life. "Grief gives us a job," says George Bonanno. It's a command to slow down, to turn inward, and to recalibrate living in a world without, without our partner, without friends, without our plans, whatever it is that's gone. "You can feel grief for anything that is part of your identity," says Bonanno, a professor of psychology at Columbia University Teacher's College where, as the head of the Loss, Trauma, and Emotion lab, he studies how humans cope with loss and extreme life events.

Connect with others. Share feelings with family and friends. Or if loved ones do not understand these feelings, look for a relative support group. This is an opportunity to demonstrate resiliency through your ability to laugh. Use the mindfulness techniques. Mindfulness can be beneficial for people who have experienced trauma, especially during flashbacks or periods of intense and painful emotions. I hope you've been practicing self-care. Everyone can benefit from doing activities that feel good, such as taking a bath, reading, resting, meditating, journaling, creating art, creative writing, listening to soothing music. Try aromatherapy. Get enough sleep. Eat a balanced diet. Exercise regularly. I thought you'd never ask. What about infants and children in this? Today we have explored grief with adults in mind, but how do we assist infants and children in understanding and processing grief? During COVID-19 pandemic, children have also been impacted by grief in many ways, remote school environment, loss of friendships, daily routines, use of technology, classroom activities, sports, recreational clubs, class pictures, prom, formal graduation ceremonies, etc.

Let's explore some items to consider with infants and children. Provide opportunities for the child to talk about their concerns and their feelings. Base your communication on the child's developmental stage. Help the child to clarify misconceptions about death, dying, or loss. Explain clearly that the child did not cause the impending death. Help parents understand that the child needs to grieve and that they should not tried to distract them from it or make it go away. Explore the use of music therapy. Help the family to decide whether the child should attend the funeral or not. Make sure a trusted adult is available to care for the child during the funeral. And encourage expression of feelings in ways comparable to the child such as writing, drawing, or playing. Just in case you're wondering, what happens when grief doesn't go away? As time passes following a significant loss, it's normal for feelings of sadness, numbness, or anger to gradually ease. However, if you're not feeling better over time, or your grief is getting worse, this may be a sign that your grief has developed into a more serious problem, such as complicated grief that we discussed earlier, or major depression. You may have trouble accepting the death long after it has occurred or be so preoccupied with the person who died that it disrupts your daily routine, and it damages your other relationships.

Symptoms of complicated grief include intense longing and yearning for your deceased loved one. Intrusive thoughts or images of your loved one. Denial of the death or sense of disbelief. Imagining that your loved one is alive. Searching for your deceased loved one in familiar places. Avoiding things that remind you of your loved one. Extreme anger or bitterness over your loss, or even feeling that life is empty and meaningless. If your loved one's death was sudden, violent, or otherwise extremely stressful or disturbing, complicated grief can manifest as psychological trauma or PTSD, but with the right guidance, you can make your healing changes and move on with your life. Recognize the difference between grief and depression. Distinguishing between grief and clinical depression isn't always easy, as they share many symptoms. Remember, grief can be a roller coaster. Even when you're in the middle of the grieving process, you will still have moments of pleasure and happiness. With depression, the feelings of emptiness and despair are constant. Symptoms associated with depression, not just grief, include intense, pervasive sense of guilt, thoughts of suicide, or a preoccupation with dying, feeling of hopelessness or worthlessness, slow speech and body movements, inability to function at home, work, or school, seeing or hearing things that aren't there. When to seek professional help. A person should consider talking to a mental health professional right away if they experience intense guilt, flashbacks, or disturbing dreams.

Left untreated, complicated grief and depression can lead to significant emotional damage, life-threatening health problems, and even suicide. But receiving treatment from a doctor or psychologist who specializes in trauma can help people begin to regain control of their lives and experience relief from symptoms. Contact a grief counselor or professional therapist if you feel like life isn't worth living; wish you had died which your loved one; blame yourself for the loss or for failing to prevent it, feeling numb and disconnected from others for more than a few weeks, are having difficulty trusting others since your loss, or are unable to perform your normal daily activities. During recovery, it can be helpful to avoid drugs and alcohol. These substances can cause emotional disturbances, and there's a higher risk of substance use disorder among people with PTSD. In closing, grief reactions can compromise changes which affect our whole life. There's no right or wrong way to experience bereavement. No one can predict when grief ends. Healing occurs when the pain is less. Don't worry about finding the right things to say. Just simply listen and be present. Be aware of some of the reactions expressed by him someone grieving can help to identify when further help is needed by a professional psychotherapist or physician. You do not get over it, but you can get through it.

Let's take a look at the positive side of life online during coronavirus. (The Positive Side of Life Online During Coronavirus - YouTube)

The positive side of life online during coronavirus. Jimmy is self-isolating. He's making the effort to stay away from others in an attempt to help stop the spread of coronavirus. But with lots of worry and uncertainty in the world, he is struggling to remain positive. Well, why don't you hop online, Jimmy? There's a whole lot of good news out there. For instance, did you know that NASA has recorded a big reduction in pollution rates since the outbreak? Reports already showing air quality has improved significantly all across Europe and China. If it's entertainment you're after, there's never been a better time. Loads of musicians are performing live concerts on social media. Broadway shows are being streamed online for free, and brand-new films are being released for you at home, rather than in cinemas. There are also plenty of apps that have become free of charge, so you can work out your muscles and complementary digital learning hubs, so you can work out your brain cells.

On top of that, every day, there are more and more heartwarming stories of communities coming together and helping to support one another. Examples of this include the Italian balcony singers, the Spaniards that stopped to applaud their healthcare workers every night, and the NBA players who are donating their own salaries to help stadium staff whose jobs have dried up. Jimmy is incredibly grateful to discover that even at such a scary time, there is so much positivity in the world. It encourages him to do his part to spread the love and help make things that little bit better for someone else. What can you do to help put a smile on someone's face? We're sure they'd appreciate it.

Speaker: LaToya Plater

It's been a pleasure being with you all today. Thank you. This was very challenging to not have that one-on-one interaction with each of you to process this journey, but we made it. This topic was also difficult for me, as I am the only living survivor of my immediate family. I lost my only brother to murder, my mother and father to other health conditions. So, this topic is very sensitive and helpful for myself, as well. I hope this information and the resources provided to you will help you and others process grief through healing to recovery. Let's continue to protect ourselves and others to prevent and slow down the transmission of COVID-19 by complying with the CDC recommendations. How can we move forward, honoring the losses we have sustained? For further questions or comments, I can be reached at LaToya.Plater@DCCCD.edu or Serenityoflife.org. Happy holidays.