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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Shouldn’t Happen at 20: Grieving young people find support at virtual dining tables.

Rei Sosa felt the weight of loneliness after losing his mother to COVID-19 in July 2020.

The 26-year-old Englewood resident began looking for a community to support in the grief. He signed up for an online group, but ended up being the only person under 50, the only man and, among other things, mourning the loss of a cat or job.

Sosa said he didn’t want to minimize anyone’s pain, but losing his only living parent at 26 was a completely different experience for him than losing his job.

“The grief was not like that,” Sosa said. “I left thinking it was a very repulsive experience. I didn’t think there were people who could understand this. “

Adolescent maturity can be a particularly isolated age for coping with such loss, experts say. The Dinner Party, a national mourning network made up of young people with a Colorado component, targets the challenges facing this demographic.

“I was the first person in my peer group to lose someone in my life,” said 25-year-old Aggie Fitch, public relations manager for The Dinner Party, whose brother died in a motorcycle accident while she was in high school. school. “People lost their grandparents they weren’t close with, or a pet, and tried to level things off, and it really could hurt, and your peers just don’t have words or don’t know how to show you everything they can. And what helped me the most was that I was there for those who received it. “

“People in their 20s and 30s may be some of the first friends of theirs to experience a tremendous loss, which means that their typical support group may not know how to be around them,” said Alan Wolfelt, grief problems from Northern Colorado and founder of the organization. Center for the loss and transition of life.

“This age group is very at risk of a potential lack of support,” Wolfelt said. “Their peers often develop a high level of perceived invulnerability, the embodiment of ‘I will live forever.’

Loss-related resources are often directed to children in grief – in camps or school support – and typical bereaved groups are reaching out to older people, Wolfelt said.

Sosa, along with more than 90 Colorado people and thousands of people in the country, reached out to The Dinner Party, a national organization with local groups providing grief support to people aged 21 to 45 who have lost a significant person in their lives. Some Dinner Party attendees are teamed up in groups – for now virtual dinner parties due to COVID-19 – while others are pairing up one-on-one with a buddy anywhere in the world with a similar experience of loss.

“A very common dinner party experience is being so horny that someone you are dating has a sad story of grief as you do, but regrets having a club, so it’s excitement and grief.” Fitch said.

Elena Lopez Del Carril said she was impressed with the way The Dinner Party connected her with someone whose story of grief is so similar to her own. This buddy lives in the United Kingdom, but their stories were similar: their fathers died a few weeks apart this summer, the 20-year-olds are both the youngest in their families and live at home with their mothers.

Lopez Del Carril, a 23-year-old Brumfield resident, said having someone to talk to, who understands what she’s going through, has been a source of relief and comfort after her father’s death following a lung cancer diagnosis that led to many others. health problems. Problems.

“For example, on my father’s birthday on August 11, none of my closest friends reached out to see how I’m doing — not out of anger, but I think it’s just because I’ve never experienced it myself in my 20s.” , – she said. “However, my friend in grief, knowing how hard it would be, still held out his hand. It’s these little things that make me thank you for dinner. ”

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Lopez Del Carril said she talks to her new friend regularly every few weeks, usually for hour-long conversations, and they contact each other on tough days. Thoughts of her dad — an outgoing, loud Argentinean who loves fancy clothes — is constantly in her head, but she worries about burdening others with her grief or talking too much about him.

Lopez Del Carril said she knows her energetic father, who has always been a party member, would have liked her to enjoy her youth, but her grief changed her deeply.

“I feel like a middle-aged woman trapped in the body of a 23-year-old,” she said. “Right now, it’s really exhausting to think about quitting, and my social battery is low.”

Grief counselor Wolfelt said that society often forces grieving people to leave or get over it, and that many feel uncomfortable and avoid being treated.

“We are a culture that avoids mourning and a phobia of emotions,” Wolfelt said. “We give people three days off at work or school, and if we do, it’s better to be a deceased biological relative from a nuclear family. In our culture, it is often more important to get people back to work or school than to heal their souls. ”

Laura McCommons, 40, said she barely discussed losing her mom as a teenager until she found The Dinner Party in 2019, shortly after moving from Florida to Colorado and seeking friendship. McCommons was looking online for a group offering familiar dinner parties with people in your community when she accidentally found The Dinner Party and realized it scratched an itch she’d ignored for decades.

“I never felt like I had someone to turn to to understand what I was going through,” said McCommons.

The Highlands Ranch resident attended her first intimate dinner before the pandemic worried to be judged by others because her loss happened many years ago.

“They were so open and welcoming,” McCommons said. “We all walked around and shared our story. I was crying and it was so strange to me because I thought I should be good at 25 years old. Everyone else was crying. It was incredible to be able to share and not feel like the judgment society sometimes makes you feel, “Oh, you have to get over this already.”

Since her first meeting, McCommons has said that she participated in virtual dinners with her group, paired up with a buddy one-on-one, and met her team at outdoor picnics so they could stay in touch during the pandemic.

“This is such a wonderful resource and we have formed such wonderful connections,” McCommons said.

Wolfelt said that “time heals all wounds” is an erroneous phrase, because a person who has lost loved ones should mourn the grief and actively participate in the healing process, and not believe that after a certain number of years everything will magically be better.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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