Coping with Loss During a Global Pandemic
When Caroline Gramig got the news that one of her closest friends had passed away she was alone like she had been the entire semester. Gramig was living in her sorority house, but only with one other girl.
Gramig’s friend, Ava Hingson, was a sophomore at Sewanee the University of the South (figure one). She and Gramig were on the school’s equestrian team together (figure two). Hingson passed away in November in a riding accident. Despite all being on campus Gramig and her friends were unable to gather to mourn their loss due to the CDC’s social distancing guidelines for the Corona-Virus.
“We always think that experiencing loss will come near the end of life and not when you’re getting into the best years of your life,” Gramig said. Gramig was able to attend a small service for Hingson, “having to attend a 10 person funeral service can certainly take a mental toll on someone, especially a 20-year-old.”
With the timing of Hingson’s death a few days after the small service students went home for winter break to cope alone. Gramig is still struggling with the fact that Hingson is gone. “Relishing the last words, you had with someone and to have to think you will never see or talk to them again,” Gramig said.
The members of the equestrian team got matching bracelets in Hingson’s memory (figure three). Gramig wears hers everyday. The outside of the bracelet has a quote engraved “Be swift to love, make haste to be kind.” The inside reads “AH 11/17/20.” Obituaries tend to have a section that lists surviving family members. If it had a section for surviving friends Hingson’s list would be endless.
Ava Hingson riding for Sewanee Equestrian Team
Gramig's matching bracelet with her teammates