Coronavirus has forever changed us. We are experiencing forms of loss: loss of freedom, loss of connection, loss of normalcy.
As we come out of isolation, there’s another emotion we are going to feel grief. It’s called anticipatory grief. It’s a feeling of not knowing what to expect or what we are going to lose in the future. It’s something everyone will need to work through to move on.
Saying goodbye with signs, through a phone call or from the other side of the window, and for some, they weren’t able to say goodbye at all.
Cassandra Holmes shared, “I was devastated, of course, because after the surgery he was supposed to come back home, and he did not.”
Holmes knew grief before COVID-19. She knows the pain of losing someone unexpectedly.
“I just sat there, and I looked out the window because I didn't know what I was going to do next,” continued Holmes.
Mindy Cassel, PhD, Psychologist & Co-Founder of Children’s Bereavement Center said, “I think that many, many people feel guilt, feel somehow that they could have done something about it.”
Cassel believes anxiety increases even when you haven’t lost a person but a lifestyle, like a lifestyle we all lost when COVID-19 appeared.
“So, it affects us emotionally, it affects us behaviorally. So, you feel it physically,” Cassel stated.
Some key ways to work through your grief: first find acceptance. Find out what you can do and do it. Wash your hands, keep a safe distance, work virtually. When the grief causes physical pain, manage it. When you find yourself thinking the worst, immediately think of something good that you’re grateful for. To calm yourself, come to the present. Meditation or grounding is a good way to do this. Also, Cassel believes grief is meant to be shared, so reach out.
“It gave them strength and a support that they found strengths they never knew they had,” said Cassel.
Experts also believe it’s absurd to think we should not feel grief right now. For those who are grieving loss, there are several online support groups to help you gain the coping skills you will need. You can find resources from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.