COVID-19 & Grief-What to Expect if a Loved One Died During the Pandemic
Friday, Dec. 31, 2021
Grief is topsy-turvy in the best of times. It can be described as a tsunami of emotions washing over you when you least expect it. What often helps the grief process is knowing that you were able to spend the last few days or hours of your loved one’s life with him or her. Participating in family and faith traditions whether it be a funeral, celebration of life, calling hours or a combination of events also play a role in the healing. Finally, being physically comforted by loving friends and family is so important.
Being denied the chance to experience end-of-life visits where perhaps things that are often left unsaid are spoken or gazing into your loved one’s eyes or holding their hand could all have an impact on your emotional reactions after death. It certainly is another element of your grief.
Funerals are important rituals after a death. During the pandemic, many services, if held at all, were graveside with fewer than 10 people. Out of state family members who normally would attend were absent. Some were live-streamed. Many bereaved report that they received emails from friends and family sharing stories and words of consolation which they found helpful. But the funeral for your loved one was likely very different than what you envisioned happening after the death.
These are referred to as secondary losses, and they play an important role in how we adjust after a death. There are many other reactions you may also experience such as delayed grief, difficult emotions, survivor guilt and many other feelings and concerns.
1. Stay connected to your own support system as well as others who were important in your loved one’s life. Physical distancing does not have to mean social disengagement. Reach out via phone calls or video chats.
2. Explore one of our virtual support groups. Contact us at
[email protected] for more information.
3. Read up on information regarding grief and loss.
4. Practice self-care and mindfulness.
5. Recognize moments of joy. Take a walk outside. Let nature do its magic. Watch a silly video. Laugh. Smile
This is an exceptionally difficult time to be grieving the death a of loved one. Have faith that you will be able to experience deep sadness and hope simultaneously as you integrate this loss into your life.