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Our Death Toll Is Incomprehensible, How Do We Cope?

A hospice social worker’s advice on how to process

A woman mourns at a memorial service for a family member who died after contracting Covid-19 in Seat Pleasant, Maryland on April 13, 2020. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

Everyone dies — and yet, no one wants to talk about that. Even as we continue to find ourselves in a pandemic with a death toll so destabilizing, so different from the familiar I face as a hospice and palliative care social worker. We’re dying, and we’re grieving, and there is no end in sight…

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