On top of the stresses of online-schooling and working from home, adult children are facing their parents across a chasm of opposing views about covid and vaccines. With tempers frayed and energy drained, folks who are too tired to hash out amicable understandings are walking away from each other.

No matter whether you’re for or against vaccines, you’ve picked the action that seems safest to you and you may believe those who have chosen differently, are putting themselves at risk. It’s hard to watch the people we love make choices that put them at risk. Driven by worry and heartbreak people are campaigning hard to get their loved ones to change but no one is winning this argument. That we hoped was going to allow us to come together safely.

In 1990 Alberta established the third Monday of February as Family Day and over the next two decades other provinces adopted the holiday in the hope that time spent together would strengthen the fabric of our families and our country. Then came covid. With more time spent together than we could ever have imagined, many families have become strained instead of stronger and we are grieving the fractures that we are witnessing.  There is no historical precedence for the storm of events that have combined these last two years. Without examples to guide us we are floundering under the grief of fractured families.

Whether you’re afraid your people will die and you’re angry at them for putting themselves at risk, or you’re afraid that they’ll carry covid to you and you’re keeping your distance from them, covid is the real culprit in this mess, not your loved ones.

If your friends aren’t going through this struggle, you may feel very alone in the grief that you’re feeling but rest assured, you are not alone. All over the world people are going through this same pain.  Grieving a break in a family relationship is scary territory. When the divide is caused by strongly held beliefs about survival, the rift can feel insurmountable and only time will reveal how it plays out.

For now, please be gentle with yourself. Stay safe and take good care of yourself as you navigate this heartbreaking chapter. When covid is a distant memory there may be hope for rebuilding the relationships that covid has broken.

Written by Catherine Mitchell, Certified Grief Recovery Specialist serving the Durham Region.