Finding Meaning Through Collective Loss and Grief | Center for Sport Psychology and Athlete Mental Health
April 15, 2020

Finding Meaning Through Collective Loss and Grief

David Kessler is an expert on grief and dying and has applied his work to what we currently are going through. Kessler defines grief as "the death of something, a death of a loved one, a marriage, a relationship, a job loss" and believes that we are now experiencing a collective loss in our inability to have our everyday "normal." We may have experienced:

  • The loss of connection, handshakes, physical touch
  • The loss of routine and normalcy
  • The loss of work, sport, leisure
  • The loss of gathering for worship, meals, events, joy

And these loses may leave us feeling heavy, sad, regretful, or just numb.

So, what may help when we are feeling these ways and having these experiences of loss? Here are some ideas drawn from David Kessler's work:

  • Identify your losses and name your experiences as grief. And, rather than comparing your losses to those of others, you can give yourself the space to experience and feel them.
  • Be present for others as they experience their losses and grief. Being together and connected to others can help you find meaning in your experiences.
  • Remember that there is no one (or right) way to grieve or experience loss…accept that others may be doing so differently than you, which can keep you connected to them.
  • Find 'Wins' in your day to day life. For example, have you been able to go for a walk, despite your feelings of loss and thoughts of isolating? If so, that is a 'Win.'
  • Name the meaningful moments you have each day, such as a coach planning a team activity for their team to connect over video.
  • Ask yourself: "What can I do that will be meaningful to me today?" Use your answer to guide what you choose to do each day.

To listen to David Kessler, you can access a full podcast at: . Or you can visit Dr. Kessler's website for grief groups and resources:

Take care and be #PhysicallyDistantSociallyClose