Coronavirus bereavement and grief affect us all, especially if someone we know has died. How can we prepare for and 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 and the conversations we have. 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 make wills and talk about what should happen in case they or others die. Others cannot get themselves to think or do anything about it.
There is no right or wrong in coping with all of this. I am a firm believer in us doing the best we can. Self criticism at a time like this is not helpful.
✅ Preparing for coronavirus bereavement and grief
I suggest that it may be wise to talk with those close to you, about how you / they may want to handle death, coronavirus bereavement and grief. By all means plan ahead and be practical.
But equally important is planning for our emotional and mental wellbeing. Talking about death is not easy at the best of times. Yet shared words and actions of comfort can give each of us strength, whether we are the one who may die or whether we are the one left behind.
🌱 Talk about ‘what if’ – say what needs to be said.
🌱 Touch, hold, embrace, kiss if you can and want to.
🌱 Write a letter or email, create or record something, share a surprise now or only to be opened in the case of your death.
Let’s give each other something now, create a memory while we can, that can help fill the emptiness and pain caused by coronavirus bereavement and grief.
✅ 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
✅ Get in touch if you need help with grief, bereavement and loss
Grief support is an area I specialise in. Drop me a line KarinSieger@KarinSieger.com to explore how I can assist you.
In response to the COVID19 crisis:
🌱 All my consultations take place online.
🌱 I have launched coronavirus wellbeing support. More here.
🌱 I have introduced a free 20 minutes initial consultation
🌱 and a sliding scale of fees.
✅ Read my corona crisis support articles
Panicking about your parents and coronavirus (incl my contribution to an article in the Stylist magazine)
✅ Watch the webinar
Coping with cancer during the coronavirus crisis. More 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). You can find out more about me here