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Red Cross Volunteers On the Line for Coronavirus Grief Counseling

Compounding the anxiety and fear around the coronavirus is the fact that people who are grieving the death of a loved one can't use their familiar funeral rituals. Sitting farther apart in the chapel, no hugs, no big family gatherings or dinners, and in many cases, no religious services. What this means is that people aren't able to grieve. Funerals and associated practices help us process difficult emotions, and without space and places to grieve, we're left to deal with these emotions mostly alone.

Fortunately, the American Red Cross has launched a new national resource, its Virtual Family Assistance Center (VFAC). People who call 833-492-0094 (toll-free) can get connected to mental health and spiritual care volunteers who will listen and who may be able to provide additional emotional or spiritual support and resources.

Not sure if I've mentioned it before, but I've been a Red Cross spiritual care volunteer for almost 3 years now. I've applied to answer phones for the VFAC, and I hope they can use me. No, it won't be the same as being there to support someone in person, but at least it's something. So if you're reading this and you've lost someone to COVID-19 or you know someone who has, I hope you'll call the Red Cross or pass the number to someone who needs it.

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