The global coronavirus pandemic has disrupted our normal routines and has left us dealing with grief and loss in different ways. School events, wedding, and travel plans have come to a halt in the wake of the virus. We are dealing with individual loss as well as collective loss. We are grieving the loss of people in other parts of the world. We are grieving the loss of our loved ones. We are grieving the loss of financial security. We are grieving the loss of traditions.
Validate Their Feelings
Whether they are grieving the loss of a loved one or loss of their normalcy, there is a need to have their feelings validated. Every feeling of grief is real. It matters to the bride when her dream wedding is postponed. It matters to the graduate when she will no longer get to walk across the stage for graduation. It matters to the father who lost his job. It matters to the mom-to-be when her husband is unable to be with her for the delivery of their first born. It matters to a caregiver when he held the hand of a patient who died from COVID-19. It matters to a loved one who does not have the opportunity to be there to hold his loved one’s hand while he takes his last breath.
Remind friends and family to release their feelings. Remind them it is alright to feel however they are feeling. Be ready to listen to your loved ones. The bottom line is there is a loss of something. There are no right or wrong feelings after you lose someone or experience a loss of something. Yes, parties can be rescheduled, and a new wedding can be planned. However, the disappointment is real. The grief is real. The bride-to-be who has impeccably planned every detail for over two years for her dream wedding has to rethink her plans. These momentous occasions are a huge deal. People who are grieving the loss of a loved one alone are especially struggling. Without physical hugs and contact, loss of any kind can be incredibly challenging. Offer comfort to your loved ones.
Look for Ways to Stay Connected
Let your loved ones know you are available for them. Call or text often. Ask your loved ones what you can do to support them. Offer to have groceries delivered or set up a meal train. Think of creative ways to offer support during the pandemic when being physically connected with everyone is not an option. Send a care package or a card with an inspirational quote.
Celebrate Your Loved One
FaceTime, Skype or set up a Zoom video to connect your friends and loved ones together to offer support to each other. Join virtually to share memories and funny stories. This will offer an opportunity for each person to share their feelings and thoughts. If someone is grieving the loss of a loved one, this is an ideal way to commemorate the person’s life. With the absence of gatherings right now, these virtual connections are especially helpful. For the graduate, connecting face-to-face may allow him to feel connected to his peers again. For the bride-to-be this may be a great outlet for family and friends to virtually rally around them and offer support.
Be creative and explore ways to make it more appealing to connect virtually. Plan a game night to lift everyone’s spirits. Plan a virtual scavenger hunt. Have a surprise guest to brighten someone’s day. Set up a virtual book club to engage your loved ones. Play games together online.
Remind Your Loved One That They Are Not Alone
Encourage your loved ones to reach out to family and friends for support during this challenging time. There are counselors and therapists who are offering virtual meetings and support sessions over the phone during this uncertain time. There are healthcare professionals offering free services to those impacted by the Coronavirus. Offer to create a list of resources. Extending this additional support may allow your loved ones to readily work through their grief. No one should have to experience grief alone. For more information or to schedule a consultation with Montgomery County’s top-rated estate planning attorney, contact Slutsky Elder Law today.