Grieving in the age of Covid-19

Friends and family, along with members of the American Legion, VFW Riders and combat veterans parade through Minnetonka, Minnesota to honor Iraq War veteran who died by suicide.

(NBC News) Fifteen miles of social distance from Fort Snelling National Cemetery, a military family grieves in the age of COVID-19.

No hugs, no graveside service, no 21-gun salute.

Just the worst pain possible, made impossibly worse.

“Mitchell’s my younger brother,” Casey Olson says, standing near the flag her family flies next to the porch. “This is where we grew up, my parents have been here since 1979.”

Since March 30th, the house has never felt quieter.

That’s the day Iraq War Veteran Mitch Olson died by suicide.

“We really did not see this coming,” Casey says. “Given his struggles, we knew this was a possibility, but we really didn’t think it was to that point.”

The United States was deep into the 2007 troop surge, when Mitch felt the call to serve. In 2008, he joined the Minnesota National Guard, and a year later was deployed to Iraq as a gunner on an MRAP, a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle.

“I think he loved the camaraderie and the sense of purpose,” Casey says.

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