Dealing with Loss During COVID-19

There’s never a good time to lose a loved one, be it two legged or four. However, during a crisis like what we’re dealing with right now, it’s especially difficult.

I lost one of my cousins suddenly last week to a brain aneurysm. It killed him instantly. Not only did I not know where to put this on an emotional level; I couldn’t fly out to Knoxville to be with my family.

So many have had to deal with a terrible loss and grieve a loved one while in quarantine. There is nothing that can make you feel even more isolated and alone than not being able to surround yourself with friends and family when you’ve suffered this kind of loss. The disconnect can almost be unbearable.

Bereavement is stressful and painful even in normal circumstances. It is now compounded with fear, anxiety and uncertainty, which only magnifies the sense of loss and isolation.

On the flip side, the cruel hallmark of this pandemic is those who are suffering from anything- be it COVID-19, a tragic accident, or a terminal illness- often have to go through whatever they’re going through alone. Because of social distancing measures and hospital regulations that prohibit visitors, patients are cut off from those they need the most at that very emotional time- family, friends, and even their religious leaders or counselors.

A dear friend of mine lost her mother at the end of March, soon after we were given the shelter in place orders. “I think my mom passed so quickly because she was so isolated. We couldn’t see her. It took away her strength to fight,” she said.

Not only can we not gather at a loved one’s bedside as a family and say goodbye, have meaningful conversations, affirm the bond, or make amends — things that help us cope with the loss - we can’t even practice our personal rituals for honoring their life such as funerals, visitations, or religious rituals like Shiva.

“When people aren’t physically present to say goodbye and grieve with other mourners, they may be more likely to experience a sense of ambiguous loss. With an ambiguous loss, it’s very hard to get closure. There’s often a lot of frustration and helplessness, because people feel disempowered,” said Sherry Cormier, PhD, a psychologist retired from private practice who now focuses on grief training and mentoring.

So how do you cope with tremendous loss during this time? Here are some coping strategies from Dr. Jason Spendelow, Ph.D., a clinical and coaching psychologist to help support your well-being while grieving during the pandemic (taken from an article on PsychologyToday.com) :

You might find it useful to think about how your lost loved one would like you to respond in these circumstances. You can use this exercise to help generate coping strategies.

Also, consider hosting a virtual celebration of life with your loved ones. Reminisce, share photos and memories of the person or pet you’ve lost. Stay connected. If the grief is too much to bear, then reach out to a grief counselor or clinical therapist. It is vitally important to not go through this alone.

Everyone is living under incredibly difficult circumstances right now. Our lives have been turned upside down in so many ways. Having a strategy to deal with loss and grief is essential during this very complicated and confusing time.

As always, I’m here if you need to talk. Please stay safe and well.

Namaste.

Written by

Writer & NLP Certified Coach. I teach people how to realize their greatest potential and use their gifts to make a difference in the world. I also save animals.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store