The messages seem to come almost every day now. Texts and emails, from a friend or coworker, who has lost a parent, a sister or other loved one to COVID-19. My heart breaks for their losses. And I ache to comfort them with hugs, and soft words. But all I can do is reach out through technology, which is inherently cold and distant, though I’m grateful for the immediacy of the connection.

Nevertheless, I feel useless during a time when the need to stay safe necessarily overrules the longing for the traditional rituals and traditions to honor a loved one who has passed. How cruel that the threat of spreading the novel coronavirus can’t be ignored even in a time of deep pain.

Just two weeks ago, my friend shared the news that her dad died of complications from coronavirus. My friend suffered through making the arrangements for a family funeral limited to 10 mourners. Days after her father’s burial, she was in the fresh stages of grappling with his death, only to have her mother also succumb to the disease. The Bible verse in Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a time to be born and a time to die, and that everything has a season. Maybe I’ve not lived long enough to know a worse time, but for me, this is a season of grief like no other. This is not the death that comes like a thief in the night. No, this death comes in broad daylight, like a bold killer on a random shooting spree.

It’s a strange thing to be focused on the dead all the time. I wake up to national reports of the daily COVID-19 death count, and local reports of statewide statistics. And I rarely end a day without hearing updates on those numbers. That’s been every day during these last weeks. Hard to believe that it was just Feb. 1 when the first, and only, case of coronavirus was confirmed in Massachusetts. Three months later, more than four thousand have died statewide, a number that may go up by the time you hear this.

I know there are real people behind the numbers. I’m grieving their deaths because I don’t want to forget. Most recently, the Boston Globe published 23 pages of death notices in its print edition. As sobering as it is to see all those faces on page after page, I appreciate the effort. And I’m grateful that some media outlets are going beyond traditional obituaries and brief mentions.

Each Friday, "CBS This Morning" airs a special segment called “Lives to Remember” which tells the stories of “some known to the world, others only known to their loved ones.” Everyone, from the 96-year-old Richard Passman who helped develop the first spy satellite, to 33-year-old April Dunn, an advocate for the disabled who worked with Louisiana Governor John Bell Edwards, to 69-year-old Kansas City EMT Billy Birmingham whom the city honored with a Fire Department escort, a flyover and a final alarm.

It’s gut wrenching to watch these very personal narratives, and I let the tears flow knowing there will be many more stories before this segment is no longer necessary. And I feel guilty that I’m relieved my beloved parents — whom I miss everyday — are already gone.

May’s observance of mental health month couldn’t be timelier. The experts say we are awash in a collective grief, reeling not just from those we’ve lost, but from life as we knew it. The emotional weight of the COVID-19 crisis has surely taken a toll on my spirit, on all our spirits. But as poet Robert Frost notes, “the only way out is through.”