Death, Loss and Grief in the time of Coronavirus

Information from www.theeap.com

Being confronted by the death of a loved one is difficult at any point in our lives, however, for many we have never experienced loss in the way we are experiencing now, in the wake of COVID19.

Those that are hospitalized are left to die alone without family and friends around them and we are left at home, alone, grieving.

After a death, we are left with restriction that don’t allow us to continue traditions or rituals such as wakes, shivas, funerals and graveside ceremonies that help with closure and understanding.

So the question remains, how can you help someone who is experiencing grief while confined to your home?

Kristin Bianchi, a licensed psychologist says, “Check in, check in, check in. The person may not respond, and that’s OK, but at least the bereaved people will know that others care and they do have support.”

Bianchi suggests that those looking to support the bereaved must be creative in different ways to show our support because we are unable to be there in person to assist.

The National Funeral Directors Association talks about importance of validating the griever’s experience, both in terms of their feeling and also in the difficulty of the decisions they must make. Their suggestions for showing support include:

  • Mailing a gift card for a favorite restaurant for future use

  • Ordering a book online to be shipped to them

  • Creating a personalized playlist

  • And using a photo service to send a picture of the griever and their loved one.

In this time, we are experiences immense amounts of loss and it can be difficult to find the words to say. It can be even more difficult when you are not able to say those words in person. Here are some ideas of things you can say:

  • I’m sorry for your loss

  • I’m available anytime you need to talk

  • What can I do for you?

  • You are in my thoughts and prayers

  • I’m sorry I never has a chance to meet (X) –she/he sounds wonderful

Most importantly during this time of social distancing, don’t emotionally distance yourself from others. Help by showing you care, and listening to those experiencing grief.

For additional tips on how to help someone who is experiencing loss or for help with dealing with grief and loss yourself, visit the EAP site where you can find more tools and articles.