GRAND Magazine - Summer 2021 - 6

grandfamilies
Overcoming isolation and loss
A
BY DR. DEBORAH LANGOSCH
s we welcome and adjust to this time of re-entry from the pandemic,
it's an opportunity to identify where we are, what we've learned, and
what we need going forward. The pandemic has had a far-reaching
impact and affected us greatly. Even though we've had this shared experience,
many have felt very isolated and alone. When we're cut off from our
usual supports and live with fear and uncertainty, anxiety and depression
build. So much was interrupted or lost: connections to others, our supports
and communities, our loved ones, our schools, jobs, and economic and food
security. Families of color were disproportionally impacted by the pandemic.
How have we endured this time and figured out what to do? Despite all that's
been experienced, families have come together with so much resiliency and
found impressive ways to cope.
...it's believed that over 40,000 children in the US have
lost their parents due to the virus which may contribute
to behavioral health concerns.
Multigenerational families face unique challenges but have remarkable
strengths that are important to acknowledge. When basic necessities are
unavailable, technology feels insurmountable, supports aren't accessible and
children struggle with remote learning, this can easily overwhelm/deplete a
family's equilibrium. It's difficult to manage all of this when the responsibility
falls on a caregiver who may be trying to keep things stable. Emotions
can run high or become shut down and it may not be clear where to turn for
help. For families who've had early life trauma, disruptions in attachment, or
other significant losses, reactions can be activated and complicate coping.
And yet, kin caregivers have persevered, accessed resources, and kept their
families intact and moving forward.
6 GRAND Summer 2021
Continued on next page
Unfortunately, it's believed that over 40,000 children in the US have lost
their parents due to the virus which may contribute to behavioral health concerns.
However, woven with grief are remarkable stories of hope, hardiness,
and transformation. One family exemplifies this well.
Ms. J assumed the care of her two grandchildren, ages 10 and 7 after the
tragic death of their mother from COVID about a year ago. Ms. J wanted to
protect her grandchildren from the pain of this immense loss and was also
worried that she'd break down in front of them and make things worse. They
rarely talked about their mom and each grieved silently and alone. Due to
the shutdown, none of their usual supports were available as their school
and church were closed, friends were unavailable and they quickly became
overwhelmed.
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GRAND Magazine - Summer 2021

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GRAND Magazine - Summer 2021 - Contents
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