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Grief Is Universal

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.

Life has a way of testing a person

 We are all being tested. All at one time. Be safe.




What You Need to Know About Coronavirus and Grief

If you’re grieving the news and events surrounding Coronavirus you’re not alone.

Whether you’re upset that your vacation has been cancelled or have been quarantined (mandatory or not), make no mistake about it, people all over the world are grieving.

Most people associate grief with death and death alone. And while death is certainly a loss, there are many other life events that can produce feelings of grief related to COVID-19.

A big one is loss of safety.

It can be scary when everything we are familiar with changes.

School closures, church and restaurant closures, social distancing and the list goes on. Almost all of your daily habits and routines have changed.

You could be worried about the wellbeing of parents, children and your own health and safety.

Maybe you’re working from home and miss the camaraderie of your co-workers.

Have you lost faith in your government, employers and even god?

You could be worried about the future of your job, how to take care of your kids and how you’re going to pay your bills.

There's also general sadness for our community.

Many things we accept as normal have been turned upside down. This leaves many of us, myself included, feeling like there’s an uncertain future.

How is this grief?

Grief is the normal and natural emotional reaction to loss of any kind.

Grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior.

When we grieve, we grieve the loss of unmet hopes, dreams and expectations.  We expect our lives to continue on as before this crisis.  Our dreams for a safe life are being tested.

How do you know you have unresolved grief?

Are you eating more or not eating much at all?

Is it hard for you to focus on simple tasks?

Are you sleeping more or sleeping less?

Are you irritable with your significant other?

Are you avoiding talking about Coronavirus by making jokes or changing the subject because you’re uncomfortable?

Have you tried talking honestly about your fears only to be told that you’re living in fear? I don’t know about you, but when I see people making fun of Coronavirus online or have been told that I’m overreacting, it doesn’t make me want to share my feelings.

What can you do?

Find someone safe to talk to. And be safe for others to talk to.

Go first. Tell the truth about yourself and your feelings, so other people feel comfortable to do the same.

Listen and talk without judgement, criticism or analysis. This goes for judging yourself too.

Know that grief is normal and natural during these times.  COVID-19 is touching many of our lives in many different ways.