The global coronavirus pandemic has created a new reality, one where grief and loss has featured for many – including me. Weddings, concerts, meetings, travels plans, school events, and more have been cancelled in because of this virus. Something we cannot control and feel at a loss as to how to express our feelings.
We have all been forced to come to terms with individual and collective grief in the face of an uncertain future which we are powerless to control, and which will change our world for some time yet – if not forever.
What is grief?
Those of us struggling with the grief caused by the unexpected death of a loved one would, under normal circumstances turn to others in our lives for support. We might gather with friends and family to cry, share happy memories, and offer care and support to one another – hug! That’s normal right? This pandemic has put paid to these rituals. But as humans we find other ways. Mine has been my husband and son, zoom calls with friends, wine, a grabbed coffee in a field (all socially distance of course) and the many cards and flowers, cakes and texts I receive on a daily (if not hourly basis). Even a game of Rumikub has helped me focus on the lighter side of life and I am NOT very good at that game, I can tell you.
Mine is a story of the death of a father whose last days were alone in care home having been without family contact for 13 weeks. But you must keep going, set a good example and learn the lessons COVID-19 has taught us – what’s important now and what will be important in the future. How our kids learn from us now will set them up to be the best ‘humans’ they can be. But it is ok to be sad in front of people… it is.
But many people are experiencing grief without a death. Grief is anything where you feel a sense of loss – the loss of normal life, a job, changes in daily habits and routines. Even the fact that special plans and events are being cancelled. Other causes of grief can be disagreements with family members over how to protect yourself or very pertinent worries about how to pay rent, utilities, and other bills. The sadness over how the pandemic will affect the world is a real trigger for people and fears for the future and how it will all pan out can keep people in a spiral of grief.
No matter what type of loss you have experienced or may yet experience, your feelings are valid, and you are not alone in this. My wish is that people get on board with this and stop trying to pretend they are coping, being the best home teacher and NAILING life but let the conversation flow.
I don’t profess to understand all this, but I’ve been writing about my experiences as the pandemic unfolds and you may find this is helpful too.