How To Grieve During A Pandemic

Contributed by Diamond Sydnor

Living through a pandemic can be really challenging, especially if you unfortunately and unexpectedly lose a loved one. Experiencing loss during the #Covid19 pandemic has completely changed the process of grieving and even the traditions that take place culturally after the loss has taken place. Death is no easy process and there is no right or wrong way to grieve but the question of “How?” remains. How to grieve during a pandemic?

Hospital visits, funerals, and repasts have been cancelled, delayed, or rescheduled due to this daunting virus. Funerals, sad but true, are considered as family gatherings, and they have now been reduced to 10 people only. As if the death isn’t traumatic enough, try choosing which family members can attend and those that must understand the time we’re in and sit it out. You can no longer visit loved ones even in their last moments, a Facetime call will have to suffice. Processing these major changes can be discouraging. All of this can be emotionally challenging and yet the question remains “How?”

Grieving can be very complicated especially when you don’t know how. Losing a loved one or knowing someone who has lost a loved one can be just as complicated. My partner lost his grandfather during this pandemic and he expressed to me “I didn’t get any closure and it’s not fair.” This broke my heart, yet I still had to research and find ways to be supportive to him during this difficult time. WHUR’s Harold Fisher had a show about this topic and Psychologist Dr. Kamirah Ware was featured and offered advice on how to deal with grieving during a pandemic, here are some of the things she mentioned:

1. If you or someone you know is struggling with grieving seek or recommend professional help.

2. Taking care of yourself is the first step in making sure you know how to properly care for others.

3. Seek ways to take care of your mental health by reading credible sources that give certified advice.

4. Do not turn to drugs.

5. Do not increase alcohol usage.

6. Do not put a temporary bandage on your hurt pain or grieving process, get the professional help that’s needed.

7. Be gentle with yourself and do not put yourself on a guilt trip when grieving.

8. Engage in self-care strategies such as mindfulness, praying, virtual connecting etc.

9. Call your insurance to find professional resources, insurance companies are waving copay fees for mental health during this time.

Grieving is hard, but knowing you are not alone and having resources to support is even more important.

Here are some professional resources below that support grieving —

DWW Psychological Services 

Wednt Center for Loss And Healing  

National Alliance On Mental Illness 

Daily Drum Podcast: Covid-19 and Grieving