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Coping with Grief, Tragedy, and Loss

Endings, goodbyes, grief, and loss are in the air at UIC as the spring semester comes to a close.

We grieve the shocking deaths of two of our own students, Brittany Kinlow and Natally Brookson. We also cope with the uncertainty of the continued search to find missing student, Daniel Sotelo.

We grieve the violent, transphobic murder of Tatiana Labelle and the tragic death of Black trans liberation leader Elise Malary this spring, two incredibly important figures in Chicago’s LGBTQ+ community.

We grieve for Aaron Salter, Ruth Whitfield, Pearly Young, Katherine Massey, Deacon Heyward Patterson, Celestine Chaney, Roberta A. Drury, Margus D. Morrison, Andre Mackneil, and Geraldine Talley, whose ruthless murders were motivated by white supremacy this past weekend in Buffalo, NY.

We grieve for the hatred that fueled shootings against Korean and Taiwanese communities in Dallas and Laguna Woods, resulting in the tragic murder of Dr. John Cheng.

Since initially writing this statement, we woefully amend to include the incomprehensible murders of 19 children and 2 teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. We grieve and grieve and grieve for the lives of Alexandria Aniyah Rubio, Alithia Ramirez, Amerie Jo Garza, Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, Eliahana Cruz Torres, Eliana "Ellie" Garcia, Eva Mireles, Irma Garcia, Jackie Cazares, Jailah Nicole Silguero, Jayce Luevanos, Jose Flores, Layla Salazar, Makenna Lee Elrod, Maite Rodriguez, Miranda Mathis, Nevaeh Bravo, Rojelio Torres, Tess Marie Mata, Uziyah Garcia, and Xavier Lopez.

The UIC Counseling Center would like to acknowledge the impact of these losses in our community and the problematic, systemic issues that dovetail with them all. We grieve for all those impacted by gun violence, hate crimes, and terror that continue to happen day after day in this country and that disproportionately impact communities of color. We condemn the hatred, phobias, misogyny, unjust legislation, and intimate and systemic violence that inflicts pain, suffering, and death for womxn, LGBTQ+ folx,  ethnically marginalized communities, and - directly or indirectly - the children of our nation.

These sudden, tragic, and violent deaths can bring up sadness, worry, and activate past losses or traumas. Our grief at the Counseling Center also encompasses feelings of anger and injustice, and perhaps yours does too. If you find that you are struggling with these feelings and that your usual coping strategies are not working, you are not alone.

Dealing with loss can be challenging and exhausting, and you might wonder how to continue living your daily life while processing your loss. You might need time to find your own way of coping, but we hope you remember that all of the feelings you experience are valid. We want to honor your feelings, invite you to do the same, and encourage you to take care of yourself during this challenging time.

Grieving, processing, and understanding loss can be individual and community processes. Some of us might feel better to connect with others, while some might want to grieve individually. If you would like to connect with others as you cope, try talking with your support system, community, or trusted friends, or connect with your cultural resources and practice. This connection can be very powerful and reminds us that we are not alone in this loss. If you prefer to process the loss in your own pace and in a confidential space, please know that the Counseling Center is here to support you in this journey. We offer both individual and group therapy – give us a call at 312-996-3490 to schedule an initial teleconsultation, and we can talk about what feels right for you. We also offer weekly drop-in spaces where you can explore loss and cope with grief.

Spaces for Support at the Counseling Center
Group Therapies (Including Women of Color Group, LGBTQ Group, and Trans, Non-Binary, and Gender Expansive Group)
Virtual Drop-In Spaces
Peer Support Groups
Individual Therapy

For Further Reading/Listening
APA President’s Response to Buffalo Shooting
Coping in the Aftermath of a Shooting
Coping with LGBT Discrimination
Grief and Finding Meaning
Grief and Loss
Grief Journaling Prompts
Parent Support for Coping after the Recent Shooting
Resources for Victims and Survivors of Gun Violence
Responding to Racism

Community Resources
Brave Space Alliance
Grief Support Group – Journey Care
GriefShare Support Groups
Howard Brown Health
Local Resources for Victims and Survivors of Gun Violence
Parenting Support Groups in Chicago
The Loveland Foundation
Loving Outreach to Survivors of Suicide

Campus Resources
African American Cultural Center
African American Academic Network
Arab American Cultural Center
Asian American Resource and Cultural Center
Campus Advocacy Network
Disability Cultural Center
Gender and Sexuality Center
Latin American Recruitment and Educational Services
Latino Cultural Center
Wellness Center
Women’s Leadership and Resource Center