Ever since COVID-19 has made its appearance, it has changed the daily lives of many people along with how they grieve after losing a loved one. According to CNBC, “In the United States, at least 20,000 people have died from COVID-19 as of Monday April 13, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.” (Stieg, CNBC). The pandemic causes a new context for how people are trying to comprehend death and grief in terms of how the death is occuring. Katherine Shear, an internist and psychiatrist and director of the Center for Complicated Grief at Columbia School of Social Work says “It’s taking the lives of people who wouldn’t have died otherwise,” (Stieg, CNBC).
Since everyone has been advised about keeping social distance, they aren’t physically there for their loved ones in their time of need and aren’t allowed to visit due to hospital regulations. There are many rituals that people hold when it comes to losing their loved ones such as being able to say goodbye to their loved ones during their last moments, holding funerals, etc.
Many others are also sharing grieves over losing other things such as their jobs, school, normal life or connections. Daily lives have been turned upside down and had a lot of changes, people weren’t prepared nor had a warning due to these changes. R. Benyamin Cirlin, who is a licensed clinical social worker and executive director of the Center for Loss and Renewal, says that it is a “tsunami of loss,” (Stieg, CNBC).
Experts have provided some tips on how to deal with Grief during COVID-19
- Call someone: Grief can be isolating so instead of feeling alone, you should call up a friend or a family member as it allows you to realize and process the emotion you are feeling. Call every two weeks or decide among your friends and family to share “check-in duties” for someone who you know feeling isolated. If you recently lost your job, reach out to people who work in your field and see if they can pass along opportunities.
- Consider postponing your grief: There are some situations in life that make sense to postpone the grieving process, and COVID-19 may be one of them for some people. If you lost your job or need to focus on keeping your family safe during the pandemic, then you might not be able to afford to grieve in the moment. However don’t just push the feelings of grief away all the time but rather let it come out from time to time.
- Tell Stories and Listen: “The goal of grieving ultimately is to learn how to love a person via absence. It allows you to slowly make some narrative sense out of a life that may have ended in a way that doesn’t make sense to you,” Cirlin says. It’s good to share the memories to allow the person to grieve. If you don’t know what to say to someone who is currently grieving, the best thing to do is listen and be there for them.
- Seeking mental health assistance from an expert: Therapy can help allow people to open up as they can help navigate and understand what you are currently feeling. Having someone provide guidance on the grieving process can give you some stability during a time that otherwise feels very uncertain. If you are currently stressing our over a job lost or having finacial stress then it’s important for you to prioritize your mental health and see a therapist
- Don’t get caught up with guilt: Don’t blame yourself if you didn’t get a chance to say goodbye.
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*(Please note that while these are information gathered on current news; this is reinforced by our opinion and may not be construed as a form of advice)*