The unexpected loss of a loved one is heart-wrenching, even when it's not during a global pandemic. But it can be worse when mass gatherings such as funerals or memorial services are being discouraged due to COVID-19. These rituals help us work through difficult emotions, and without them, the grieving process may feel incomplete or lacking. 

Moreover, whether or not the death was COVID-related, your feelings of shock and sadness may overlap with pandemic-related fear or anxiety, which can feel overwhelming, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As you move through this difficult time, it's crucial to give yourself time and space to grieve. These suggestions may help.

Own Your Feelings

Realize that your emotions are valid, even if they feel all over the place. Grief is a time of intense emotions, which can be unpredictable. Recognize that this is natural. And don't compare your grieving process to anyone else's. How you feel or react to the loss of a loved one is very personal. 

Sudden loss is shocking and difficult for our brains to comprehend. When a loved one dies suddenly, under difficult or unusual circumstances, as is happening with COVID-19 deaths, the tendency to get caught up in imagining alternative scenarios is ever stronger. This can be not easy to grapple with, but it's a natural part of the healing process. 

Trust that you eventually will find acceptance. The best ways to find it are to:

  • Act in ways that are consistent with important personal values or deeply held interests.

  • Believe in your ability to face and meet important life challenges competently.

  • Nurture a sense of belonging and mattering in the world. 

Be compassionate with yourself and with others who are also mourning the loss. Grief is a process. Keep putting one foot in front of the other as we you work through it. 

Be Aware of Common Pitfalls

Grief is a delicate process, and when you're in the throes of it, you are especially vulnerable to negative thoughts that can derail your healing process. These include protesting death, self-blame, guilt, anger, or shame. 

You may imagine ways things could have gone differently. You may feel as if you're losing faith in yourself or others. Or you may avoid reminders of the loss, even if it means extreme social isolation. These types of thoughts and feelings are self-defeating.

Survivor's guilt is common. Try not to let it overwhelm you. Recognize that you're allowed to have joy and positive emotions, even though they may be hard to find at first, but you will find them when you need them. 

We're Here to Help

Our Confidant providers are skilled at helping people through the complex emotions common to the grieving process and the uncertainty and anxiety of these unprecedented times. Our therapists can help you cope, all from the comfort of your home and at affordable prices.