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Shannon Dorsey was interviewed by the Tacoma News Tribune about helpful ways to deal with grief from the covid pandemic.

Cost of COVID-19: ‘Every one of those deaths has a story.’ Here’s Pierce County’s first


Excerpt from the article...


For Rosella Berreman, any initial hesitation to talk about her daughter’s death was rooted primarily in a mother’s pain.

She had just lost her “best friend,” she said. And she was angry, because she felt like the doctors weren’t prepared to treat her daughter and the health department had portrayed Shawna as being particularly susceptible.

“I was kind of mad, because they said she had underlying health conditions,” Berreman explained. “Granted, she was overweight and she had high blood pressure, but that was it. She was very active. It wasn’t like Shawna was sick.”

Most importantly, the 73-year-old also found herself with a new responsibility: Caring for the daughter Shawna left behind. Her name is Mallory, and she recently turned 12.

“My granddaughter has been very stoic,” Berreman said of how Mallory has coped with Shawna’s death. “We’ve gone through a lot of changes, as she’s gone from being a child to an adult.”

“She had a steep learning curve on how to grow up real quick,” Berreman added.

According to University of Washington Psychology Professor Shannon Dorsey, who specializes in the treatment of trauma in children and adolescents, everyone reacts to grief and loss differently.

Citing her experiencing working with death-related trauma, Dorsey said it’s important to provide space for people to talk about who they’ve lost — good and bad — while helping people understand they still have a connection with someone who has died.

Dorsey said healthy reactions to death often include finding ways to honor the deceased, including traditional funerals and other ceremonies associated with death. The curtailment of these cherished services due to COVID-19 precautions has been particularly hard on some, she noted.

Dorsey described this as part of the process of converting a relationship “from interaction to memory.”

“Keeping someone alive, keeping their memory alive, is being able to realize you still have a relationship with that person,” Dorsey said.

“One of the biggest issues for children, cross culturally, is we often don’t talk a lot about people who have died,“ she continued. “But things have to be talked about for children to process that grief and that loss.”

Read the entire article here.