Grief is universal. But it is rare that we all feel grief at the same time.
Such is the power and pervasiveness of coronavirus and the ways it has turned our lives upside down and inside out.
While many of us have been feeling anxious or frightened in recent weeks, not all us may recognize that part of what we are feeling is grief.
Grief is a normal and natural reaction to loss. Grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or a change in a normal pattern of behavior.
At this time in our lives, everyone is experiencing the grief associated with not being able to do the things we would usually do. Losses to our autonomy and personal freedom can have substantial psychological impacts.
Not being able to live our normal lives by working, engaging socially with friends and family, and moving about freely … These are very serious losses.
It's normal for us all to be feeling this sense of sadness and even fear about what it is we can't do, can't experience, can't engage with.
There might be times you feel grief about COVID-19 very intensely, and times you don't feel it so much.
You might find that you're OK for a few days and then suddenly you think of something you had planned for and can’t do and that might re-elicit a sense of sadness.
This is a normal human reaction to very abnormal circumstances.
As well as sadness, feelings of disbelief are common, as well as irritability and frustration.
If you're experiencing grief in some shape or form the best thing you can do is acknowledge the feeling.
It's important we all stop and acknowledge our feelings and emotions, rather than being in denial or fearful of our emotions.
Acknowledging how you feel enables you to talk it through with someone else, and move towards acceptance.
Acknowledging and validating is the best way to show love and caring. This can sound like, “Goodness… I can’t imagine what that is like… How are you handling all of that?”
When someone says, “I am feeling devastated,” you can say “You’re devastated. That makes sense.” You can also say, “I wish I could make it better but I know I can’t.”
In times of great grief we all need to be able to talk about our feelings and emotions with someone who will listen and give you the knowledge that you were heard. They are a Heart with Ears.