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Life And Loss: Coping With The Worst Year Of Our Time

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Shadows are cast across Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cemetery during a surge in coronavirus disease cases and deaths in El Paso
IVAN PIERRE AGUIRRE/REUTERS
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Shadows are cast across Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cemetery during a surge in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases and deaths in El Paso, Texas, U.S. November 25, 2020. Picture taken November 25, 2020. REUTERS/Ivan Pierre Aguirre

The entire planet is in the grip of grief. The pandemic has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans, but it's also hijacked our normal lives and our sense of security.

How do we go on when pressed under the weight of so much personal and collective pain? This week's Petrie Dish explores pandemic grief — and how to transform that pain into resilience.

KERA reporter Stella M. Chávez explores the evolving grief of the family of an essential worker who died early in the pandemic. KERA reporter Mallory Falk talks to a funeral director who is managing his own emotions after losing a friend — a fellow funeral director — while at the same doing his job: helping grieving families who've lost loved ones to COVID-19.

KERA’s Vice President, Rick Holter, talks about losing his dad, who died of COVID-19 early in the pandemic, and how he used his skills as a journalist to begin to process this deep loss.

We also meet a nurse who describes healthcare workers’ daily struggle and also shares her personal story of grief after her grandfather died in a nursing home.

A psychologist discusses personal and collective grief, how to survive it and how to begin to transform pain into resilience.

A historian tells us that, as a people, we've survived this kind of collective pain before, but not without scars. We explore grief and the 1918 pandemic.

That 1918 pandemic happened to launch the jazz age, but the COVID-19 pandemic is killing jazz greats in large numbers. The racial inequities that existed in 1918 were not addressed then, and they're killing people now. We grieve that loss.

Reported and Produced by: Bonnie Petrie, Dominic Anthony Walsh, Stella M. Chávez, Lucy Huang, Mallory Falk and Rick Holter

Sound Design and Music: Jacob Rosati

Executive Producer: Fernanda Camarena

Host: Bonnie Petrie

TPR News Director: Dan Katz

Texas Newsroom Managing Editor: Mark Memmott

TPR was founded by and is supported by our community. If you value our commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.