East End Hospice Turns Bereavement Support Group Toward COVID-19

In my 10 years of reporting, this is one of the most heartbreaking stories I have ever experienced.

I cried over and over again writing it. My editor cried reading it.

As I’ve learned, the bereavement and trauma coming out of the COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented, but the stories of loss are eerily similar, marked by a sudden illness and a rapid decline — their family and friends left behind in the chaos.

To Maribeth Edmonds, and Lauren and Eileen Weinclawski, the way in which you shared your stories, with such raw honesty and openness, was staggering. You will help others understand the weight of this pandemic, opening their eyes and hearts to a world that is impossible to understand — unless you’ve lived it.

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Not Safer at Home: Domestic Violence Hotlines Field Dramatic Volume Increase

The sudden uptick in calls to The Retreat’s 24-hour emergency hotline startled Loretta Davis, executive director of the safe haven for domestic abuse victims. And even stranger were simultaneous upticks at the four remaining agencies across Long Island that same day.

The surge in calls motivated Ms. Davis to reach out to the local paper — and when my editor asked me to take the story, I immediately accepted.

But not before my body went hot, and my hands started shaking, and I felt an all-too-familiar trauma response that I thought I’d left far behind.

I am a survivor of domestic abuse. I know firsthand how impossible it can feel to leave, and the subsequent terror that you will be found — fears that, I’m sure, are only amplified against the backdrop of an international pandemic.

But I promise you, there is a way out — and you are not alone.

At the bottom of the article, I’ve included a list of resources: emergency numbers and a sample safety plan, as well as a checklist to help you determine whether you’re in an abusive situation.

If you are, I know that you have the strength within you to leave. And it is my hope that this story helps at least one person do just that.

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Artists Inspired in Days of COVID-19 Pandemic

Artists across the East End have reported mixed impacts on their creativity and productivity while sheltering in place — a concept that is foreign to some, but not much of a departure for many who are already accustomed to, and prefer, working in isolation.

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Peconic Bay Housekeepers Find Strength as Mother and Daughter During COVID-19

Leslie Gettling and her mother, Ingrid Castillo, let me into their lives as housekeepers on the front lines of Peconic Bay Medical Center during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Their candidness made this story feel so immersive, like I was shadowing them from afar — and I am so thankful to them both for it.

Keep loving and supporting each other, everyone.

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Unsung Heroes Continue to Staff East End Disability In the Face of COVID-19

COVID-19 has forced disability agencies on Long Island to shutter day programming, cancel all special events and, worse, impose a mandatory lockdown for residences — a difficult concept for many of the residents to grasp.

But as they acclimate to their new normal, the concern is not limited to the health threat that they face. It is also a threat assumed by the direct support professionals who care for them — essential employees who show up, day in and day out, despite the risks.

And despite earning just above minimum wage to do it.

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Distance Learning More Of A Challenge For Kids With Special Needs

Across the country, parents and teachers are grappling with maintaining a sense of normalcy as education has moved entirely online and in-home, leaving students to navigate an endless portal of Zoom video calls, YouTube lessons and Google Doc assignments that have become status quo — except for the nearly 7 million students nationwide who have a disability.

This is a look into their new normal.

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