Grieving during the pandemic and the holidays
Have you lost a loved one? Is the pandemic preventing you from flourishing and grieving? The holidays are approaching, and you may be reminded of the death of a loved one and feel sad. This is natural, human, and part of the grieving process.
Add to this the impact of the pandemic on people who must grieve when some of their energy is already affected by adjusting to a new reality.
Many families have not been present with a loved one at the end of their life. They have not been able to talk to them, touch them, watch over them and be reassured that they have not died alone. It is therefore natural to experience great distress and helplessness.
Bereaved families may also have been deprived of important rituals such as funerals that are part of the grieving process. When restrictions are lessened, it will be very important to plan events such as an in-person funeral or memorial gathering to honor what the deceased would have wanted.
That said, as the New Year approaches, we can find ways to ease our sadness by communicating with loved ones, talking to them on the phone, video conferencing, sharing memories, stories, photos, music, etc., which allow us to share our grief, and can bring some comfort. Those around you will worry if you don't communicate.
Do what you need to do for yourself. If you live alone and will not be sharing the holidays with family and friends, reach out to your neighbours or neighbourhood associations.
Change your routine, where you eat, what you eat, where you open gifts this year.
Respect your limits and take care of yourself as much as possible.
Hopefully these tips will help you with your grief and help you welcome a new year.
Renée Ouimet, MSW, RSW
Volunteer at the Funeral Co-operative of Ottawa
Mental Health Trainer