Coronavirus bereavement and grief affect us all. We can grief for the loss of ‘normality’ the way we knew it, or the loss of someone who has died. How can we cope with loss because of COVID19?
The COVID19 pandemic continues to change all our lives, whoever we are and wherever we live.
✅ COVID19 and change
(1) We lose our sense of normality, control, safety, security, predictability, comforts and freedoms. And we realise that we and others are not as invincible as we may have thought.
(2) Daily statistics of illness and death have become part of our news and have entered our minds. Our own mortality is never far off.
(3) It is a time of fear and uncertainty which affects our emotional and physical wellbeing.
(4) We are encouraged to plan for the unthinkable. People have made wills and talk about what should happen in case they or others die. Others cannot get themselves to think or do anything about it.
(5) We realize that even with the loosening of lockdown restrictions the ‘old normal’ will not return.
There is no right or wrong in coping with all of this. I am a firm believer in us doing the best we can.
✅ Coping with coronavirus bereavement and grief
If someone you know or are close to has died of COVID19 then your pain will be extra hard. Because these are extraordinary circumstances.
The lack of human contact, giving and receiving comfort, not knowing what is happening and feeling helpless, not being able to say good-bye and being physically present, the images of mass graves, the inability to have the bereavement ceremonies and rituals our own traditions command – all that and much more make coronavirus bereavement and grief a very personal yet also public experience.
What is happening in your country and in the world at large influences how we can (and cannot) cope with our loss. The wounds of this pain will be long-lasting.
In bereavement counselling we talk of grief stages, which do not necessarily follow an orderly straight line. But we can expect huge and subtle waves of feelings like disbelief, guilt, denial, anger, anxiety and depression.
During the coronavirus crisis all of this is amplified. The shock, disbelief and pain is even worse, because
? Everything we are going through is filled with disbelief.
? We have a lot less room for grief expression and things we can do to cope with our loss.
? We all are disoriented, with our lives and worlds turned up-side-down.
How can we possibly find comfort at a time like this?
✅ My advice to anyone experiencing the loss of a loved one because of COVID19
? Allow the pain and sooth yourself.
Often people feel numb in a state of physical, emotional and mental near-paralysis.
- Don’t be frightened.
- Sooth yourself, be gentle.
- Spend time in nature if you can – even if it is watching peaceful nature scenes online.
- Keep warm.
- Avoid activities or food, drink, other substances which may stimulate you.
- Avoid noise and additional stress.
- Rest, rest, rest.
? Distractions are good.
If they are gentle and do not feed denial. Because denial works only so long, and you may fall a lot deeper because of it.
? Create a special moment.
If there is no funeral you can attend, then create your own ritual, celebration, moment of passing – whatever you call it, at home or outdoors if you can. You need to mark the death and passing.
? Speak with the one who has died.
Tell them what you want them to know:
- thank them,
- tell them off if you want to,
- speak out what might cause you a sense of guilt and regret.
Let it out – write a letter, speak it out loud, create a recording, say it in your head.
Express your feelings – in whichever way works best for you. Don’t let things fester!
✅ Other grief resources for you
Check out my grief collection, which brings together all my articles and podcasts to help you prepare for and cope with grief. Browse Karin’s Grief Collection HERE
✅ About me
I am a London based psychotherapist, writer and podcaster, fully qualified, registered and accredited with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). I trained and practiced in the NHS before setting up my private practice. I su[port clients locally or via online wherever you are. You can find out more about me here