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Unending grief of COVID-19 deaths causing problems for some

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Kelly Brown’s 74-year-old father got sick first with COVID-19, followed by her 71-year-old mom just two days later. John and Judy Trzebiatowski died of the illness just a week apart last August, sending Brown into a black tunnel of grief that doesn’t seem to have an end.

Health restrictions stripped away the things that normally help people deal with death, such as bedside visits at the Wisconsin hospital where they were treated and a big funeral with hugs and tears, she said. That left Brown to deal with her sorrow on her own, and now she’s having a hard time seeing a way forward.

With more than 605,000 dead of COVID-19 in the United States and nearly 4 million worldwide, Brown is among the thousands or more who could be experiencing prolonged grief, the kind of mourning that experts say can prevent people from moving beyond a death and functioning normally again.

Kelly Brown holds up a December 2019 photograph of her parents John and Judy Trzebiatowski in her home Friday, June 25, 2021, in Menomonee Falls, Wis.
Kelly Brown holds up a December 2019 photograph of her parents John and Judy Trzebiatowski, who died from COVID-19, in her home in Menomonee Falls, Wis.
AP/ Morry Gash

“It’s the most horrible thing to have to go through,” said Brown. “I would not wish this upon anyone.”

Natalia Skritskaya, an expert on grieving, said it’s too early to say whether prolonged grieving, also known as complicated grief, will be a major complication from the pandemic — it isn’t yet over, with thousands still dying daily worldwide, including hundreds in the United States. Many mourners have yet to pass the one-year anniversary of a loss, and few studies have been published so far on the psychiatric fallout, she said.

But prolonged grief is both real and potentially debilitating, said Skritskaya, a research scientist and clinical psychologist with the Center for Complicated Grief at Columbia University in New York. She noted that it can be treated with therapy in which participants talk through their experience and feelings.

Kelly Brown, right, and Stacy Nash hold up a photograph of their parents John and Judy Trzebiatowski, both of whom were deceased victims to the COVID-19
Kelly Brown, right, and Stacy Nash hold up a photograph of their parents, John and Judy Trzebiatowski, who died from COVID-19.
AP

“The core of it is kind of helping people face the reality of what happened,” she said. “It’s not an easy treatment. It’s intense.”

Jerri Vance said therapy has helped her deal with grief since her husband, James Vance, a retired police officer in Bluefield, West Virginia, died of COVID-19 on New Year’s Day, but she worries about their two young daughters.

“Seeing my kids’ grief adds to my pain,” she said. “One of my kids isn’t making much progress in therapy because her daddy was her person. She is still mad at the world.”

A study published in the fall predicted a likely increase in cases of prolonged grief linked to the pandemic. Already, people who lost loved ones to COVID-19 are filling social media pages with stories of tears and sadness that just won’t go away.

Noreen Wasti sits in a park near her home in Brooklyn, N.Y., as she sits back and reminisces about her late father Salman Wasti, 76, who died from COVID-19.
Noreen Wasti sits in a park near her home in Brooklyn, as she sits back and reminisces about her late father Salman Wasti, 76, who died from COVID-19.
AP

Many cite the loss of typical end-of-life rituals for their continual grieving; some struggle because of the unexpectedness and seeming unfairness of the coronavirus. The politicization of the pandemic is a thorn for many who constantly see and hear some argue against what health experts say are life-saving practices including vaccinations, mask wearing and social distancing.

“In my office I listen all day to unsolicited opinions and try not to engage, as it is unprofessional,” said Betsy Utnick, whose father, Sheldon Polan of Selden, New York, died in April 2020. She said she still cries every day because the grief has yet to subside.

Noreen Wasti knows the feeling. She lost her father to the illness caused by the coronavirus on Dec. 27 and is having a hard time going on.

Wasti, who writes and creates online content in New York, said she’s unsure what it will take to get over the loss of Salman Wasti, 76, a retired biology professor from Glocester, Rhode Island.

Noreen Wasti shows a framed family photo of herself in Brooklyn, NY, as a child with her father — Salman Wasti, 76 — who died from COVID-19.
AP

With so many people hurting and little personal interaction for months because of pandemic health restrictions, social media has become the place where many connect to share stories of loved ones and loss. One private Facebook page dealing with COVID-19 losses has more than 10,000 members, and continuing grief is a constant thread of discussion.

Rabia Khan has found solace online since the death on Thanksgiving Day of her father, Pakistani activist Muhammad Hameedullah Khan of Chicago. In survivor and family groups, she said, the grieving don’t face insensitive questions about how a loved one contracted the virus or why someone wasn’t careful enough to avoid it.

Aside from sharing stories online of her late boyfriend Ben Schaeffer, a New York subway conductor and historian, Lisa Smid has tried to redirect her anguish into something positive. She sponsored an online lecture at the New York Transit Museum and plans to honor his legacy by endowing more memorial lectures.

Ann Haas of St. Paul, Minnesota, is still trying to find some sort of outlet as she mourns, but work keeps bringing her back to the worst day of her life.

Ann Haas poses June 18, 2021, in Eden Prairie, Minn., with a photo she took of her late father, Raymond Haas.
Ann Haas poses in Eden Prairie, Minn., with a photo she took of her late father, Raymond Haas, who died from COVID-19.
AP/ Jim Mone

Haas lost her father, Raymond Haas, to COVID-19 on Nov. 11 and works in the laundry at the same Veterans Affairs hospital where he spent his final days. Haas said memories keep flooding back each time she folds a tan blanket like the one that covered him while he was fighting to live.

“’I wish other people could see what this does to people. I hear people saying, ‘This isn’t real, it’s nothing,’” Haas said between sobs. “I’ve got nothing left. I don’t know if it’s going to take them losing someone to understand.”

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What Time Will ‘Riverdale’ Season 6 Be on Netflix?

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The season finale of Riverdale aired in late July on The CW. Notice we said season finale? Thankfully, the beloved series will return for a seventh season, but, unfortunately, Season 7 will be the final installment of Riverdale.

If you already streamed the current season, make sure to read Alex Zalben’s interview with Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on Decider. If you’re waiting to binge Season 6 on Netflix, well, you better clear your calendar because all 22 episodes are about to drop on the streamer. What time will the sixth season of Riverdale debut on Netflix? What time does Netflix release shows? Here’s everything you need to know.

WHEN IS THE RIVERDALE SEASON 6 NETFLIX RELEASE DATE?

Riverdale Season 6 premieres Sunday, August 7 on Netflix.

HOW MANY EPISODES ARE IN RIVERDALE SEASON 6?

The sixth season of Riverdale consists of 22 episodes.

WHAT TIME DOES NETFLIX RELEASE NEW SHOWS?

Netflix releases new episodes at 3:00 a.m. ET/12:00 a.m. PT.

WHAT TIME WILL RIVERDALE SEASON 6 BE ON NETFLIX?

Netflix is based out of California, so Riverdale Season 6 will be available to stream at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (3:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) beginning Sunday, August 7. If the clock strikes 12:00 (or 3:00 a.m. for folks on the East Coast) and you don’t see the new episodes, give it a moment, hit refresh, and then enjoy the show!

WILL THERE BE A SEASON 7 OF RIVERDALE?

Yes! Decider recently covered that very topic.

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Actress Anne Heche Suffers Severe Burns After Crashing Car Into Los Angeles Home

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Actress Anne Heche, known for her roles in such films as Donnie Brasco, Volcano and I Know What You Did Last Summer, was involved in a fiery car crash in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on Friday.

According to TMZ, Heche was driving a blue Mini Cooper and had first crashed into the garage of an apartment complex. Residents of the apartment complex tried to get her out of the vehicle but she backed up and sped off.

Footage of Heche speeding down the streets of her neighborhood had been obtained by TMZ as well as her initial encounter at the apartment complex.

In the first clip, you can hear her car crash towards the end. It has been reported that the actress crashed into someone’s home, causing her vehicle and the house to erupt into flames. Heche suffered severe burns and was resisting being taken away in a stretcher. You can also view footage of this via the TMZ article.

It has not been confirmed whether alcohol has been involved in the incident since her condition prevents doctors from performing any tests to determine if she was driving under the influence. She is currently intubated in the hospital but expected to live.

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These are the vulgar license-plate requests the DMV has rejected

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Stay CL4SSY, New York!

The state Department of Motor Vehicles nixed 3,752 requests for vanity license plates in the last three years because it deemed them too raunchy, radical or simply ridiculous.

New York’s personalized plates go for $60 initially, and then $31.25 annually for renewal. You can get any plate as long as no one else has it and it’s not offensive.

Odds are a request for a plate that marks a wedding anniversary or shows your allegiance to a team — like METS86 — will pass muster with the DMV gatekeepers.

Vulgarity won’t get you to first base.

So plates with the phrase LFGM — the acronym for Pete Alonso’s “Let’s F–king Go Mets” rallying cry — did not make the cut.

And you won’t see anyone driving around with the custom plates MILFDAD, AS5M4N and WLHUNG.

Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
New York DMV
NYC123
New York state Department of Motor Vehicles denied more than 3.5 thousand requests for license plates deemed inappropriate.
New York DMV
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
New York DMV

The DMV also put NICEBUNS, FATFANNY, GOTAPOOP and BENDOVER in the rear-view mirror.

One player unsuccessfully tried to score the plate YESDADDY, to no avail.

The DMV also shot down such dark requests as DEADGIRL, GENOC1DE, S8TAN, DETONATE and MURDERM3.

“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
New York DMV
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
New York DMV
BOOBIE is prohibited.
BOOBIE is prohibited.
New York DMV

Getting political is a dead end too — FJOEBIDN, FDTRUMP and CNNLIES were nixed.

LUDEDUDE, NARCO, GOT METH and BLUNT also went up in smoke.

Staten Island attorney Bill Dertinger said his blue 1995 Jaguar SJS was tagged with ESQLTD after his company and his 2014 Porsche had the plate GHOSTGTS because the sleek sportscar was white.

“The plates can make you stand out — which can be a curse or a blessing,” the 54-year-old Dertinger said. “Make sure you don’t cut anybody off.”

A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
New York DMV
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
New York DMV
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
New York DMV

There must be a New York Jets fan playing referee at the DMV because a request for the seemingly innocent plate GASE was sidelined. Ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase had an offensive 9-23 win-loss record during his forgettable two-year tenure.

The DMV would not reveal who gives the final yea or nay.

“The DMV reviews all custom license plate requests and works hard to ensure that any combinations that may be considered objectionable are rejected,” said agency spokesman Tim O’Brien.

“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
New York DMV
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
New York DMV

He said guidelines on what plate combinations are restricted can be found on the DMV website: https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-about-personalized-plates. Approximately 50,000 personalized and custom plates are sold per year, O’Brien said.

Bagged Tags

The state DMV has rejected 3,752 requests for custom license plates in the last three years because it deemed them potentially offensive. Here are some:

YESDADDY

FJOEBIDN

FDTRUMP

GLOCKS

FLYMOFO

BOOBIE

AS5M4N

BUDLIGHT

DEADGIRL

SUM8ITCH

GENOC1DE

S8TAN

CNNLIES

DETONATE

MURDERM3

MILFDAD

WLHUNG

Source: NYS DMV

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