Grief in the time of coronavirus is complicated by pandemic-fueled anxiety and loss of ritual

On Oct. 29, Lisa Marks lost her beloved sister Barbara to coronavirus.

Barbara Bourque was the oldest of six sisters in a Lafayette family and had been like a second mother to Marks, who is 20 years younger. Bourque began feeling ill and was admitted to Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center on Oct. 7. She tested positive for the coronavirus, was put on a ventilator Oct. 24 and died five days later, isolated from her family. She was 62.

In May, a few months before her death, Bourque and Marks began cooking and delivering food to others in the community who were stricken with the virus. Suddenly, Marks was suffering the harrowing loss and grief that have become scars of a pandemic with a U.S. body count surpassing 450,000.

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