By Lisa Gannon B.A.,B.sc (Hons)
One of lives most difficult experiences is when a loved one dies. Currently, grieving is taking place under very challenging circumstances. Covid 19 has changed the traditional way we grieve our loved ones. With current restrictions, some families may not have had the opportunity to say goodbye to their loved one, this can make it harder to accept the death and it may not feel as real. Whilst it is difficult not to dwell on this aspect of the loss, it is important to remember that your relationship with the person was so much more than this painful end.
For the moment we cannot come together in the days following a death with numbers at funerals being kept to a maximum of ten. The support of others during this time tends to be a great source of comfort and support as we share stories and memories of our loved one. Not being able to do this now in the traditional sense magnifies the loss. During this time it is vital to stay connected to friends and family through text messages, emails or video calls. Perhaps keep a journal in the days and weeks that follow. Write about memories of your loved one, share funny stories, write about the feelings that accompany the loss. Listen to songs, read the poems and books they loved, look at photos, write them letters. Also, many Counsellors and Therapists are still available and conducting their sessions online so please do reach out if you feel you’d benefit from this type of support.
It is important to find ways to express this grief and all the painful emotions that come with it. This means engaging with the pain of our loss. Coming to terms with a significant loss in our life takes time. It may feel like the pain will never end. We may feel little enthusiasm for life and cannot imagine a time that we will ever feel joy or passion for life again. While all these emotions can be all consuming, they will not last forever.
It’s human nature to try to avoid painful feelings, when we do this, they can come back stronger so it is important to allow ourselves experience the feelings that come with the loss. All too often, clients speak of not wanting to talk to family & friends because they don’t want to be a ‘burden’ or don’t want to upset other family members. These are the family members who are feeling the same way, so please reach out and share your experiences of the loss, it will help.
Feelings that accompany grief can be exhausting, so it is important we take care of ourselves during this time. This means taking care of our bodies and minds, eating well, sleeping as best we can and exercising too.
Currently everyone is living under difficult and stressful circumstances, this pandemic is especially challenging for the bereaved. There will be days that are better than others, you may feel good one day and bad the next, this does not mean you are going backwards, it means you are moving along through the grief journey. Everyone’s grief journey is different so allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling and be kind to yourself. The feelings that accompany your journey are all relevant to you, there is no set formula or path to take. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. There is no getting over the loss of a loved one, instead we manage it and find a way to move forward whilst acknowledging the loss is now part of our life.