In the spring of 2020, Crystal McEwen lost her mother to covid-19 and her husband to an affair. McEwen, a day-care teacher, provided in-home care for her mother, who suffered from bipolar schizoaffective disorder and early onset dementia. Due to strict visitation restrictions in Brooklyn's overwhelmed hospitals, McEwen couldn't be with her mother in her last hours. "My mother was my baby," she said. "But all of a sudden, I didn't have a family."
To deal with her grief, McEwen, 38, sought out a therapist, began journaling, developed a meditation practice and increased the time she spent in prayer.