LYNDHURST, Ohio — The COVID-19 vaccine has brought hope to many who are ready for life to start getting back to normal. But in order to start returning to a sense of normalcy, a healing process will be required to deal with the trauma the pandemic has caused.
A local funeral home is working to help that cause, teaching those who need it how to deal with grief.
Julia Ellifritt is the executive director at Cornerstone of Hope. She said that grief is an experience that everyone experiences.
“Grief is a universal experience. It's probably one of the only things that 100% of the population is going to experience,” Ellifritt said.
While the shared experience of grief can be unifying, such as when people come together to remember a loved one, it can also be isolating—especially in times like these.
The pandemic has taken away the traditional grieving process for many with funeral and burial services hindered by COVID-19 restrictions and precautions.
“That has messed up a lot of people's processing of loss and how they do it,” Ellifritt said.
But at Murphy Funeral Homes, a special addition hopes to provide a resource for people to learn ways to cope and deal with loss and grief.
The funeral home’s Lyndhurst location is home to the new Mollie and Dave Murphy Memorial Library, named after funeral director Denny Murphy’s grandparents and filled with books about grief and loss.
"We don't necessarily just want to be funeral directors, we want to be your go-to people if you have questions about anything related to death, we want to be there to help,” Dan Murphy said. “There's really a book for everything that you really need to relate it to grief and overcoming the significant loss in really your lowest time."
The library includes books on all kinds of grief—from losing a parent to losing a pet. There are even books targeted towards children to teach them about loss.
As the United States approaches 500,000 COVID-19 deaths, grief stemming from the pandemic is bound to impact everyone, but the message being sent as the country continues to battle the virus is one of hope.
“Just taking care of people, I think it is how we begin to heal,” Ellifritt said.