Losing a Loved One Due to Covid-19
Loved One Passed Away Because of Covid-19
Since March 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has taken the world over by storm. Millions of people are dying and not being able to be with or see their sick loved ones during this time has made it extremely difficult on so many.
Basic and Clinical Neuroscience says:
Millions of people around the world have experienced the loss of a loved one due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Given the restrictive lockdown regulations and stay-at-home orders, most of these individuals did not get a chance to say goodbye to their loved ones, properly to have a funeral/ceremony for their loss or to bury them. As a result, millions of individuals have not experienced a regular grief cycle that enables individuals to rapidly adjust to the situation and recover themselves. All the stages of the grief, namely denial, anger and guilt, bargaining, depression, and acceptance can be affected by implemented quarantine policies. (NIH)
When we lose a loved one, as difficult as it is, we work through the grieving process. However, trying to heal and cope after losing a loved one to the Coronavirus makes things even more difficult and complicated.
Dealing with Grief Due to Covid-19
Due to the pandemic, the normal grieving process has been completely disrupted. People are experiencing increased levels of anxiety and depression because their day to day lives have been shattered due to lockdowns and quarantines. If you add to that losing a loved one due to Covid-19, you have the perfect storm for a mental breakdown. Not being able to visit or say goodbye to a sick loved one, having to decide to take someone off of life support, and/or not being able to have a regular funeral can all bring feelings similar to those that one may experience after a trauma.
Also, seeing news repeatedly about Covid-19 is a constant reminder of one’s sadness and loss. Plus, how we may normally cope with stress is not available to many of us because of the stay-at-home orders and shutdowns (practicing self-care, gathering with friends and family, hobbies, or other enjoyable activities). How do we cope with grief during this time?
Coping with a Loss Due to Covid-19
One of the first things we must know when trying to cope with loss is that our feelings are valid. We may not even know or understand why this has happened and replaying the “what ifs” in our head only prolongs the healing process and makes things harder. Here are some other ways to cope:
- Allow yourself to feel – it’s okay to cry or be sad.
- Staying connected – sometimes just talking to someone can help us. Stay in touch with friends and family. Call, text, video chat, or use social media to stay connected with them. Reach out to others who are experiencing similar situations. Pets can also provide great emotional support.
- Create memories or rituals – Create a blog or memory book and ask friends and family to share the memories and stories they have with your loved ones with you. Plant a tree or do an activity in memory of your loved one.
- Ask for help from others – seek out support from your church, support groups, mental health services, through counseling, or from trusted friends.
- Create an adaptive routine – engage in self, exercise, hobbies, worship services, or other activities that may help you cope. Make sure you are eating healthy and getting enough sleep.
- Limit the amount of news you are watching – Reading or watching the news too much can increase your anxiety. Sometimes you just have to turn it all off and take a break.
- Be creative – cook, do art, garden, or create something. It may make you feel better.
- Music – put your headphones or earbuds in and listen to some music or maybe a podcast or something that relaxes you.
It’s important to focus on today or the present, and the things that you can control. Things will eventually get better as you begin to adjust. If you find yourself having trouble coping, it may be a good idea to seek out help from a mental health provider.
Grief and Loss Therapy
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Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019
Cayla Clark, BA
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.