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Suffering and mourning… in this time of Covid19…

August 27, 2020

We continue to assume this very complex time that we are having to live as humanity in which personal and collective suffering is reaching us all with greater force, some more closely than others and all with the concern that we can be infected , and even dying, because we see it closer and closer in our places, in people we know, in news that is reaching us from one side and the other … The coronavirus does not respect people or places, color, age, social classes … At the same time, we receive various help and reflections to understand, from the different dimensions of being, what this suffering causes us, as well as interesting clues to face it. This, together with the daily encounter with the God of Life, sustains us and helps us make sense of this situation.

Last Sunday, July 19, Father Mateo Bautista, a Spanish religious of the Camilos Fathers, currently in Peru, directed, via online, a talk from “The Road of Duel”, a free virtual platform that they have to help people develop grieving processes and accompanying them in various ways in this work to overcome suffering. In it, he insisted that human suffering is a reality that touches all human beings, personally and collectively for many different causes, not only due to contagion, illness or death. There are many other loss situations that put us on the edge of life. The path of mourning, that way of facing suffering, is a very laborious and positive work for the sufferer, that is, the person who has suffering to transform it, overcome it and emerge stronger from that experience, in every sense. Grief, activity and attitude too, is the recycling of those feelings that cause suffering.

This pandemic has put us in the face of suffering that is alleviated or accentuated as it touches us more closely, whether it is also due to prolonged isolation (confinement), loss of work, failure of companies, possible contagion and death of people acquaintances, loved ones and even members of the family itself, as so many are already saying goodbye to their loved ones… For not yet seeing an accurate horizon of vaccines and means of control for this virus.

We are then facing a suffering that is somehow new, because since 1914 we had no idea of ​​a collective pandemic situation of great proportions … A mourning that is communal also because it affects many of us directly and all of us indirectly. A socio-sanitary grief because it is not only the issue of a virus that spreads but of a condition that affects all human beings and in different dimensions: corporal, emotional, mental, social, values, spiritual and religious . And we have to take care of all of them … So much confinement is already producing complex situations in not a few people and, in fact, serious researchers also question whether this means is a true aid to control contagion.

Yes, we are facing an extraordinary humanitarian duel for various reasons and because we have neither the means nor the resources. We cannot accompany our loved ones if they become infected and arrive at clinics or hospitals, if they get worse we cannot be with them, if they die we cannot properly fire them. We cannot give them comfort. There is no wake, no burial, no funeral procession. Anyway…

As this pandemic progresses, a post-grief time will come and we will ask ourselves then, what do we have to do? Father Mateo insisted that something very clear is that we have to help each other a lot to work all the internal resources because we have lost several of the external ones. This is a virus that science still cannot control.

We need to be creative in how to deal with this suffering in the world and in various fields… including digital.

We need to accept this reality that hurts, embrace it, call it by its name and accommodate this suffering, so that we can come out of it really stronger. We have new work on ourselves, a laborious and collective path of mourning and true integral reconciliation. God continue accompanying the pain of his people and helping in all this.

Teresa Ramírez FI – Bogotá (Colombia)