Heart Connections – Grief and Loss in a Pandemic

As we move toward the end of September, it’s hard to believe that we have been experiencing life in a pandemic for over six months. Grief and loss are pervasive on multiple levels in our nation and in the world as we observe this half-year marker in time.

Some members of our TCF community have had a loved one die directly as a result of COVID-19. Others have experienced the death of a child, sibling or grandchild from other reasons during this restricted time. Many have experienced renewed pain from a devastating loss that is being particularly triggered by current events. Grief has been compounded due to the additional losses of jobs, finances, health, social interaction, safety, and security. For bereaved parents, siblings, and grandparents, some painfully familiar feelings have resurfaced such as anger, sorrow, shock, denial, helplessness, worry, and intense anxiety.

When we can’t control outside events, what can we do to deal with the uncertainty and grief? There are many daily activities and actions that can make a difference in how we take care of ourselves and our families in order to manage through this time.

  • Volunteer – Helping someone else is one of the best ways to help yourself. TCF is a wonderful avenue to support others who are grieving, and seeking additional ways to volunteer outside of TCF can expand that further.
  • Community – Find community whether through a neighborhood group, an association, extended family, online interactive groups like Facebook or chat groups, or a book club. Most of these groups have ways to meet virtually, outside, or with social distancing at this time.
  • Physical Movement – Walk, exercise, do yoga or chair yoga, stretch, or play active, outdoor games with your children. This is more important than ever for the many adults who are working from home and children who are attending school virtually from home.
  • Gratitude – Spend a few minutes every day to identify, write down, or share 5 to 10 things that you are grateful for today. There are more things to be grateful for than we often realize, and this practice reframes your energy and the way you perceive your day.
  • Connection – Reach out and call people more often. No advanced technology is required for this, and fewer outside activities mean there is more opportunity for many of us to talk to people who we haven’t spoken with in a while.
  • Nature – Get fresh air whether by walking or just taking a break to sit outside. Play with your pets outside for additional fun, love, and emotional support.
  • Faith, Spirituality, Mindfulness – Renew, deepen, or seek comfort in your faith or spirituality if this is part of your belief system. If non-faith approaches are what support you best, nurture those including meditation and practicing mindfulness. Seek out and talk to others who share your beliefs and perspectives.

Spend time each day engaging in a few of these activities. It can be hard to motivate ourselves when we are more isolated at home, so prioritize them and post reminder notes to do them if needed. Basic care like adequate sleep, fresh air, a relaxing bath, nutritious foods, plenty of water, peaceful music, and quiet moments help us manage through grief and isolation. If your grief is aided by keeping busy, try a new skill or hobby, cook a new meal, do a puzzle, or pick up a new book.

As the weariness of the pandemic sets in further, just like the weariness we experience over time with deep grief, focus on one day at a time. Invest in yourself and in your family in simple ways that you may not have had time for before. Believe that there is something beyond this time in our lives that we cannot yet see that can be good again in a different way.

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Comments (5)

  • Reaching out to people who are going through grief has never been more important especially now in the midst of COVID19.Funerals that have normally supplied some comfort to the bereaved have of necessity been altered due to Covid ,denying people of much needed support in their time of grief.

    • I had ten people, immediate family, at my son’s funeral. My other son had his best friend with his family present and sat a little back from us. My son had support. I had no support. I have many cousins living within 30 to 45 mint from me, no one came. It was May 3,
      No one came because of the virus. No one said I still will go and support the family and sit in the back . No one
      Still no one. No one has come to the house. One friend came because she felt guilty and has been visiting once in a while.
      Out of sight out of mind. I remind them on FB with pictures of my son and my tears. My son left and so did my friends and family
      This is so difficult , I can never get over being abandoned.

  • Thank you Shari for your article that I found very reassuring. I lost my son, Alex to cancer aged 19 on 11th October 2019, and my grief, despair and existing mental health issues have certainly been compounded by Covid 19, making it much more difficult to get the help that I have needed. Thank goodness for TCF whom have helped massively by talking with my grief companion, attending online talks and reading the literature that you provide. I am dreading Alex`s 1st year Angelversay, but hope to get through it with your help. Thank you.

  • Thank you Shari for this encouraging ,inspiring and motivating article. I gained so much from the TCF National Virtual conference and your writing is the “icing to the cake”. One thing we do now as a family on a regular basis is having zoom meetings – . Our family is huge as we’re all spread out across the US and the farthest one is Austria( Europe) . What a joy to see everyone and be connected to one another. We got a chance to know what’s going on in our lives.
    We even talked and remembered precious memories of loved ones who have gone before us. Pictures and videos of family reunions and childhood memories were shared . I feel that we are more closer as a family than ever before. We’re just hoping that the day will come soon when we get to be together in person
    and give those tight hugs — long overdue. What a day that will be!,!!!
    Once again, Shari and the whole TCF team, thank you . Many more success to your endeavors to come.

  • Thank you Shari, for the article. It helps me understand a little bit more to be close to the ones that are left. I can’t wait for the day where we can have those meetings together again. I lost Corey this month October 10 years ago, but sometimes it seems like yesterday especially the anniversary of his death. You can try to get the grief but it holds on still. I am trying. I will definitely try online groups. Thank you again.

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