How pandemic equals grief, even for the healthy

When I met Stacy Sanders, director of chaplains and bereavement services at Hospice of East Texas, he joked about being a slow talker. This has to do with more than his Arkansas roots. Stacy spends most of his conversation time listening. When he speaks to families who are losing a loved one, he wants to provide time to process and a warm presence. He is sensitive to their raw, numb state and feelings of anxiety.

Hearing his story, I decided his slow, calm demeanor was a perfect response to these COVID times. Whether in sickness or in health, all of us are needing space to process. Stacy’s training gives him insight into feelings of loss during a pandemic, even when we and our family members remain physically healthy.

Stacy wasn’t shy about being real. His understanding of grief and loss extended beyond his professional work and into stories about his best friend and his parents.

The Tyler Loop stands by its mission to develop shared understanding in our diverse and growing city. Stacy’s voice is yet another in the chorus of our East Texas neighbors. My hope is that seeing Stacy’s video can help provide a sense of connection and solidarity, now more than ever.

Thanks for reading this story. Just one more thing. If you believe in the power of local journalism here in Tyler, I'm hoping that you'll help us take The Loop to the next level.

Our readers have told us what they want to better understand about this place we all call home, from Tyler's north-south divide to our city's changing demographics. Power, leadership, and who gets a seat at the table. How Tyler is growing and changing, and how we can all help it improve. Local arts, culture, entertainment, and food.

We can't do this alone. If you believe in a more informed, more connected, more engaged Tyler, help us tell the stories that need to be told in our community. Get free access to select Loop events, behind-the-scenes updates about the impact and goals of our work, and, above all, a chance to play a part in bringing more fresh, in-depth, unexpected journalism to Tyler.

Support The Tyler Loop!

Previous articleHow black women are creating good hair days during pandemic
Next articleFor the most vulnerable, pandemic just made everything worse.
Jane Neal is the executive director of The Tyler Loop and storytelling director of Out of the Loop: True Stories about Tyler and East Texas. In addition to the Loop, she works at the Literacy Council of Tyler and Tyler Public Library. Jane is a certified interfaith spiritual guide. She is a member of Leadership Tyler Class 33 and a former teacher of French at Robert E. Lee High School, where she ran a storytelling program called Senior Stories. Jane and her husband Don have four children.