“Our emotions need motion. We need to feel them. Suppressing them doesn’t work.”

These words by David Kessler summarize his advice to us as we struggle with “heavy sadness” and other emotions while coping with the unprecedented challenges and losses of the COVID-19 pandemic.

David Kessler is one of the world’s foremost recognized experts on grief, trauma, and healing. He has written numerous books on this subject including the iconic On Grief and Grieving which he co-authored with Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D. His most recent book is Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief.

In the March 26, 2020 interview with Michel Martin on PBS’s Amanpour and Company, Mr. Kessler brings his professional expertise – as well as his intensely personal experience with heart-rending loss – to bear on his advice to us during this tumultuous time.

While fighting the pandemic is at root a medical battle, with economic and political symptoms and repercussions, he says, how we deal with our emotional responses can also become weapons in the fight.

Effective emotional responses include naming the emotions we feel, expressing them, accepting them, and finally, transforming them by creating something of honor to bring forth from the traumatic experience into the future. Knowing and truly understanding the stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance and finding meaning – are key to developing such an effective emotional response.


The paperback format of Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief is scheduled to be published in December 2020. After publication, it will be made available to order from our website’s Resources section.