Grieving in the Time of COVID-19

My grandma passed away this last weekend, and while she didn’t pass away from COVID-19, my family is still dealing with the effects of losing someone during this time. When my grandpa passed away a few years ago, there was a finality in the funeral. It was extremely sad, but made better by being surrounded by family and knowing we were all in this together. We were able to share our favorite stories of him, drink his favorite beer, and drive his favorite car (not in that order!) and it gave all of us a sense of peace. Now, we’re all kind of on our own to deal with this. We can’t have a funeral or full family gathering until much later in the year in the best case scenario. Video calls and texts certainly make it easier to connect, but it’s definitely not the same. And while I don’t have all the answers for grieving in the time of COVID-19, I can share what has helped me, and hopefully help others as well.

One of the hardest things about grief is knowing what to do or say to someone who has lost a loved one. I’ve definitely struggled with this in the past. And while I’m not here to provide a perfect phrase you should say to make everything better (because unfortunately nothing anyone can say will make losing a loved one “better”) I think the most important thing we can do for people grieving, especially during the time of COVID-19, is to show them we’re there for them, even if it’s just virtually. I know for myself and a lot of others, we’re now working from home, which can get very lonely. Giving someone the opportunity to talk through things (or maybe just sit silently on the phone for awhile) can connect us emotionally while we all have to distance physically. Just sending a short, “how are you today?” text can make a huge difference. It gives people the opportunity to open up if they’d like to, or just to serve as a reminder of the people around them that care. I also think distractions are important, because grief takes an emotional and physical on people. Animals always make things better, so send a funny video of your pet, or a link to your favorite animal Instagram. It takes a short amount of time, but I can confirm (at least for me personally) it truly makes a huge impact.

To those who have lost someone during this time, I am so sorry for your loss. It’s never easy to lose someone you love, and it’s certainly harder now while we physically distance ourselves. So whether you’ve lost someone or not, consider this my chance to ask you: how are you doing today?

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