COVID-19, has really changed so much in our lives, including how we’re coping with grief from the loss of a loved one. Quarantine and social distancing ask us to adapt in different ways when it comes to love and loss, and to saying goodbye.
In normal circumstances, when a loved one gets sick, we can have contact and care for them, share sentiments and love, and be present with them as end of life approaches. We can hold their hand as we say goodbye and assure them, they are not alone.
A pandemic changes all of this.
As one approaches the end of life, it must be experienced without loved ones nearby, which can be scary and leave loved ones without a sense of closure over the loss.
People are missing out on their final farewells, which is relatively common when a loved one dies suddenly, like from an accident or heart attack. But there’s added stress that is unique during a pandemic, in that we are aware that the loved one is declining, but there’s little ability to be of support and the inability to be present for the end of life.
This can lead to deep despair, feeling a lack of control, guilt, and sadness over the inability to be of comfort.
In addition, once the loved one passes, rituals like celebrations of life and funerals can’t be held due to social distancing measures. While some are engaging in virtual funerals and other rituals, it doesn’t replace the hug of family members or the shared experience of mourning together.
So a lot of the grief is left to be done alone or at a distance from the loved ones needed for support. Finding acceptance, a key tenet of grief processing, can be disrupted as a result.
Check out Diane Malaspina’s online course, Working with Grief – Theory and Therapeutic Application of Yoga, which is designed for experienced yoga teachers who work with clients in a private setting and would like to refine their approach to helping those experiencing grief.