December 22, 2020

Heartbreaking deaths of Michigan’s earliest COVID-19 victims: Stories reveal the true toll

Thousands are mourning the loss of a loved one because of COVID-19. Here's how the virus spread all over metro Detroit — and devastated families.
Dr. Michelle Riba is quoted. 

Link to the entire Detroit Free Press article.


A grief like no other

The way people said goodbye changed almost immediately when the outbreak started.

Families in mourning are the secondary victims of the pandemic, said Dr. Michelle Riba, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan.

The usual process of grieving — funerals, burials, religious gatherings — were suspended or truncated, making an already difficult situation harder. People have been replaying what happened in their minds, thinking if anything could have been done differently and what it must have been like for their loved ones to die alone.

“It’s torturing a lot of people,” Riba said. “It’s been very traumatic.”