For students missing prom, sports and commencement, it’s OK to lament the loss: Purdue grief expert

Image by Ihsan Aditya from Pixabay.

3/20/2020 |

With large gatherings being prohibited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many in-person university commencement ceremonies have been cancelled this year, along with spring formals and sports. And for high school students, prom and other end-of-year activities seem uncertain as well.

Heather Servaty-Seib is a Purdue University professor who researches loss and grief experiences in both death and non-death situations. She says it’s important to acknowledge these losses and recognize the grief that occurs when these important rites of passage cannot be practiced in their traditional forms.
“Grief is not specific to death. As humans, we grieve all types of non-death losses, and that includes situations where expected and anticipated rites of passage can no longer occur — at least not occur in the same way,” says Servaty-Seib, a professor of counseling psychology in the College
of Education.
“We need to challenge ourselves to be creative in modifying these rites of passage — to develop approaches that still allow for meaningful ritual and community connection.” 
Writer: Brian Huchel, 765-494-2084,