Khephera Jesal’s husband of 32 years lost his battle with cancer and died in late January. She thought she had plenty of time to plan Amen-Ra Uhuru’s memorial service, a big party.


But then the coronavirus pandemic swept across Detroit and Michigan, snuffing out the lives of her close friend of 54 years who was a singer in a local band and many others. Now, her grief feels unbearable, holding her with a vicelike grip. The uncertainty and isolation of quarantine has made it all even worse. And she doesn’t know when she can hold the memorial party she needs for closure.


“It’s a loss of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” said Jesal, a healthy lifestyle coach who lives in Detroit. “That which would make me happy, I’m unable to access. It isn’t just grief, it’s pain, it’s being blindsided and I’m tired, overwhelmed and depleted.”


She is among a new wave of metro Detroiters, Michiganders and people across the nation who are seeking grief support to help bear the pain of losing loved ones who died — before and during — the pandemic, and the unexpected challenges that resulted from it all.