How do I grieve the loss of a loved one?
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted a lot of people, and many have suffered the loss of a family member or friend. Losing a loved one is never easy, and the pandemic makes it particularly hard to cope with your loss.
COVID-19 affects some people in a severe way, and their passing is often sudden and unexpected. Those who are left behind may have been unprepared for the loss, and the way in which we say goodbye have been greatly limited due to the nature of COVID-19.
Most of us have traditions and rituals of faith, closure, and bringing together the community who knew the departed in order to grieve and seek comfort. However, due to the need to protect ourselves and other people from getting COVID-19 we are discouraged to come together in large social gatherings.
If you lived with your loved one who passed away, you or other household members may feel guilt or worry about the way in which the departed acquired the disease, or that they could have been treated better had the symptoms of COVID-19 been recognized at an earlier stage.
It is important to know that many people are not aware that they are carriers of COVID-19, especially if they do not exhibit symptoms, and there is no way to predict how individuals will be affected by the virus.
On top of losing a loved one, you are still going through a lot and have many worries about your future: the stability of your job, your ability to meet your financial obligations such as debts, rent, and mortgages, medical bills, and loss or reduction of health insurance and retirement benefits.
For many people, these challenges that are happening at the same as a loss can make sadness and grief more intense.
You may feel lost, especially if the person you lost to COVID-19 played a big role in your life. You may experience confusion, difficulty in making decisions or completing tasks, and repetitive distressing thoughts about COVID-19. A lot of people become isolated and disconnected from other people, even close family members or mutual friends.
If you are struggling with the loss of a loved one, it is important to give yourself time to process the sadness and grief. While it might be easier to try to return to some semblance of normalcy, take time to accept the loss and go through the process of bereavement.
The act of caring for yourself after a loss is difficult work but it is necessary for you to keep going. Try to accomplish basic self-care tasks such as eating regularly and getting rest.
Losing a loved one is not the time to lose touch with others, and people can be very supportive when you reach out for support. Even if COVID-19 prevents you from coming together to honor the memory of the departed, there are still ways to stay connected with your family and friends.
Share your memories and experiences with your loved ones through phone calls or video conferencing sessions. Seek support from your family and friends. Discover or reconnect with a spiritual community. If available, find a support group for dealing with loss and seek guidance from your doctor or mental health professionals.
With time, you can focus on the love and care of your loved one, and remember their accomplishments and good memories you shared with them.
Source: LA Public Health