The Pandemic has sparked an enormous about of grief. We are living in a time of uncertainty. We have plunged into despair; many have suffered unexpected losses during this time. People are not only grieving but also dealing with guilt, regret, and shame. Many are wishing they had been there to hold the loved one’s hand and comfort them as they made their transition. An enormous number of people are dealing with compounded grief, loss of employment, home, lifestyle, and multiple relatives” Research found that 34% of new marriages are ending in divorce.” (as cited in National Law Review, Volume X, Number 290, Taylor W. Brownell, October 16, 2020) “Children have many worries related to the consequences of COVID-19, such as whether they will see their friends and relatives, go to school or get sick. It is often difficult for parents to calm their children’s anxieties because of the uncertainty in their lives. Parents are typically adept at making plans for their children, but future plans are currently on hold. The challenges facing parents may interfere with their usual ability to address their children’s emotional needs.” (as cited in Psychiatric Times, Karen Dineen Wagner, MD, PhD, October 7, 2020).
For me, I have grieved the loss of the freedom of hugging my relatives, eating at restaurants, and walking down the aisles of the grocery store without the fear of getting too close to someone. I have had to pivot my business to the digital world. I have lost several relatives, and my husband and I had the coronavirus. My husband loss taste and smell; however, it has not stopped him from eating, lol. My daughter is missing the way she interacted in college. She hates being virtual, and she is a science major. It is her last year of college, and there is so much uncertainty now and after college life. We did not see it coming; yes, the Pandemic has caught us off guard. The coronavirus has wreaked havoc.
Here are some suggestions on how to deal with grief:
- Accept that there is no right or wrong way to grieve. When I say that, the grief is personal, and what grief looks like for someone else doesn’t mean that is an appropriate way to grieve.
- Be sensitive to the experiences of others. We all have experienced some form of loss, some greater than others, but still a loss. We cannot minimize other experiences. Please don’t compare and tell someone yours was worse.
- Write a letter to loved ones expressing your sadness and what this has done to you. Writing can be therapeutic. You will be surprised at what you have been holding in, so get it out.
- Plan how you want to spend the holidays. Celebrating holidays without the loved one can be complicated and overwhelming. It can also be hard to plan but give yourself permission to spend time with others and strive to let go of the guilt.
- Be gentle with you. We are pivoting and changing on the dime. Many of us hate change, so give yourself a break. If you don’t want to do something, it’s okay. If you need to reflect and process or do something, be OK with your approach; remember it is personal.
- Listen to your body, emotions, and yes, your children if you have any. You may have to seek others’ assistance to help you with your children. Unfortunately, if your network has diminished, you made have to create a new one by leaning and talking to other moms who are willing to step up and be a part of your community. Don’t build roadblocks; it may surprise you who is ready to step up.
- Pray and keep praying even when you feel that God is your enemy. God can handle how you feel. If you feel angry, sad, rage, anxious, unbelief, you can’t understand why this happened. God can deal with all your emotions. If you are a Christian lean on Jesus, you can take it all to Him. Whoever you serve, let your God be on your team. Find what anchors you and allow it to bless your life. Nothing that I am suggesting is easy. Take small steps, and eventually, you will see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Author: Regina C. Hall, MA LPC