The Rock of My Life

Jonathon from Florida created a poem for Pam, to help memorialize her husband who passed from COVID-19. 

Jonathon became unemployed after restrictions in the service industry led his employer to layoff staff.  As part of our Unemployment Transition Program, Jonathon hose to complete his capstone project to by creating a memorial piece for Pam, a family who because I said I would identified through our bereavement program. Pam lost her husband, Bruce  to COVID-19, and wanted to create a memorial to help remember and honor him and their love. Pam shared photos of her husband as well as insight into their relationship, highlighting their love of rocks and geology. After speaking with Pam and hearing their story, Jonathon created this poem in Bruce’s honor, titled ” The Rock of my Life”



Lessons Learned

Q. How do you feel this project affected the family or individual you helped? 

My capstone project was a short poem written in haiku format about the late husband of Pam Smith, a man who just absolutely loved rocks. The theme of the poem was rocks and their symbolism, and I believe that the poem was able to help Pam cope with her loss with sincere and comforting words. A memento honoring a person who had passed can be a really great coping mechanism when done properly.  


Q. How did the project help you?

 This project opened my eyes to just how much damage this virus did to individuals that you don’t see or hear from on TV. It only takes one false move to end up contracting the virus yourself, and it just as easily could be a close family member of mine who is taken away from me without warning. I walked away from this project with a much greater appreciation for where I am in life no matter where I am in life. I still have my father and mother, I still have my brothers and my sister, and I know that not everyone was able to be as blessed as I was throughout this pandemic. I have never felt so charged to give back to those who aren’t as fortunate as I am, be it with my wallet or my own two hands, and it feels really good to know that I’m working to have a positive impact on so many people.

Q. What advice would you give to other people who are comforting a bereaved family/individual? 

he best advice I can give is that when comforting a bereaved family/individual is to really make the effort to listen. Try to keep your personal comments to a minimum, and only talk about yourself if it directly relates to or supports their emotions. If they feel like they just need someone who will let them cry on their shoulder, be that shoulder so that they can have an easier time grieving. If an older man wants to spend the entire afternoon telling stories of his experiences he shared with his late wife, listen and ask questions so that he feels like you’re really engaged. Once you really listen to what they’re saying, you’ll know how to continue to help them cope over the next couple days if need be. 

Jonathon graduated from our January 2021 Cohort.

If you or someone you know is unemployed due to Covid-19, see if our Unemployment Transition Program is right for you. Additionally, if you have lost a loved one to COVID-19 and would like to be a recipient of one of our participant’s capstone project, please look at our Bereavement Support Page to sign up.