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Grief in a Pandemic

Written by: Emily Majkrzak, MSW

I want to start this off by saying, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. For that reason, this isn’t a “how to” article. I wrote this to let those who are grieving know they aren’t alone and to offer some suggestions.

Have you lost someone during this pandemic, due to covid or other reasons? This is a very isolating time for those grieving the loss of a loved one. Grief is challenging no matter what but add a pandemic to the mix and it can make it even more unbearable. Family traditions that usually help with the grieving process cannot even be carried out. Hospitals aren’t always allowing visitors to be with those who are dying, especially those dying of covid. My family was fortunate enough to bring my mom home to die during this pandemic but everyone is not that fortunate. Funerals and wakes are large gatherings where people would usually hug, cry into each other’s shoulders, share happy memories. Having a funeral during a pandemic is hard and can be impossible for some. There is also the challenge of gathering with extended family or with those who knew the deceased person who aren’t family. Those things bring us comfort when someone we know and love has died. Unfortunately, so many grieving people have had to miss out on that due to Covid-19.

For those who’ve had to experience this, I’m sorry. Know that you are not alone in these confusing times. Understand that processing this loss, along with a pandemic, along with social justice issues is A LOT for anyone to handle. If you’ve made it through, even just barely, you have something to be proud of.

Things that have helped me and other grieving people during these times:

  • Have a blanket made out of the person’s clothing. Use it when you need comforting.

  • Have a pillow made from clothing or a blanket. You can hug it when you wish you could hug them.

  • Create a memory shelf containing pictures, keepsakes, candles, or an urn, etc.

  • Use art, there are some fun grief coloring books on Amazon you can purchase.

  • Cuddle with a pet or a significant other if you have one.

  • Make sure you nourish yourself with good food, maybe even food that your loved one enjoyed.

  • Connecting with others via Facebook or other social media. For example- there’s a Facebook group specifically for grieving daughters missing their mom.

  • When you are ready…….find the right therapist. Remember that you may have to try a couple therapists before you find a good fit. That is ok!

  • Lastly, please remember that it does get better (as cheesy as that sounds it does).

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