Grieving During This Isolating Virus

I can say without reservation that the years spent grieving the loss of my daughter, daily missing her presence, created a loneliness harsher than anything I could ever have imagined. Now, throw in an isolating, disruptive virus floating through our cities and towns, large and small.

With sixteen years of grieving experience on my “life resume,” my attention over the past few weeks has turned to moms and dads who are “new grievers,” those trying to navigate fresh grief  when everything in the country – even planning a funeral or memorial service – is out of working order.  You have many concerns and worries.  My prayers, carried deeply in my soul, are for your comfort.

Maybe you have other people physically in your presence, or like me, you are at home alone. I’m kind of tired of hearing people whine about how tough it is to be “stuck at home” with their kids, coming up with clever ideas and innovative activities to get through this terrible time of being at home with the family.

Now, I’m not minimizing the challenges of setting up school at home and feeding hungry people all day long, believe me. I just wish these people on TV and dancing happily across electronic screens doing chores in their kitchens and cooking in the backyard had any idea of how very fortunate they are.  Many parents are living in agony and would give anything and everything to have had more days, months, years with their precious children – even when they were aggravating the heck out of you. It’s impossible to communicate these feelings to anyone who has not lost a child, so I’m trusting you with my thoughts.

Right now you are dealing with the sorrow and isolation of today. Don’t look past today – today is enough. Take yourself outside for a while. If possible, take a short walk – it might turn into a longer walk when you realize walking helps to air out your feelings a little. This is a time to put yourself first when possible, as hard as that may be. Sit down with a book even if you can’t read more than a few pages. Eat something though you don’t feel hungry. (I had some popcorn and a bite of chocolate cake for breakfast, so who am I to be giving advice on nutrition?) Take a quick ride through a drive-through for a cold drink, some small treat to break up the day. Settle down with meditation or prayer though you feel as though you can’t focus. Try something for just a short time to calm your soul. My motto through the years has been “make the bed.” What???? To me that means to accomplish some small task, some little job that puts just a jot of order and routine to my day. It helped me emotionally and psychologically to pull back the covers on the bed each night rather than toss around in a tangled mess. I would think – I’ve made it through a day – now I can leave it behind and see what happens tomorrow.

You may feel like you are doing better in isolation. I have those times too.  But, as you have already likely learned, time can turn on you in an instant, compounding your grief, isolation and loneliness. Reach out through Compassionate Friends to the other moms and dads who are struggling and who know your walk. Listen to what they are living. And, here’s something you may not have thought about – you are helping someone else when you have honest conversation with another grieving parent. When you become able to soothe someone else’s pain, you will recognize that your own healing has begun. It’s a privilege to share your pain.




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Comments (5)

  • Thank you so much Carol for your thoughts, experiences & hope. It is going to be Mother’s day & that day is hard for us as grieving mothers. My only daughter Diane Marie Taylor, 23 was murdered by a 19 year old boy driving 120mph & a bac of .23. I attended TCF in Honolulu for 6 years until we moved to the mainland. I live in Killeen, Tx. I have been to Tyler once . I hope you have a TCF group there. May 25th is my Diane’s birthday. It has been 24 years ago…..longer than she lived. Always, Chris & Diane’s mama Jenny

  • You have given me such comfort, I have been doubting my own sanity, my son died 2 years ago and I have experienced lately two friends that have told me I should make more of an effort to live life, I have tried to explain how I feel, but you’ve hit the nail on the head, it’s impossible to describe our pain and heartbreak.

  • I really like the way you put this. My son has been gone 33 years next month.. Seems impossible. He was hit and killed while I was at work blocks away. He was almost 6. I like that you are encouraging not to be too hard on ourselves. I spent years feeling responsible because ” I couldn’t miss work”, as I had just separated from his father. I have been thinking a lot about the things you mentioned and more over the last 2 months. My great grand was taken out of here 3 days into quarantine and we haven’t seen her since. My grand daughter couldn’t stay put and now they can’t come back. What I would give to have the baby here again. At 22 mos she was a handful, but oh how I miss her!! Nobody has patience anymore. They want to feel “good” all the time, so they tap into that serotonin level at every opportunity. Even grief is attempted to be rushed. We can’t rush our grief any more than we can rush the coronavirus to be gone. We do not control these things. As long as we don’t let them control US…..

  • I think one never totally releases the pain of losing a child. There are so many memories. My husband asked me a few days ago, “Don’t you ever get depressed about losing our daughter?”
    I replied, “Of course, but when the pain gets so bad, it doesn’t allow me to stay in the present or write, I kick my butt into therapy. He grunts, still not accepting that after 11 years, he could use help.
    It took me about five years to get over the loss of our mentally ill son due to a heroin overdose, and that occurred 10 years ago. But it has taken even longer to heal with the fact that we have a 28-year-old daughter who refuses to have a relationship with us. We made so many mistakes trying to deal with an unbalanced son as Kyle required a lot more attention. I’ve worked through a lot of guilt and pray almost every day that she will want a relationship with us.

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