COVID-19: What You Need to Know About Coronavirus and Grief

coronavirus covid-19 Mar 17, 2020

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

Whether you’re upset that your vacation has been canceled 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 the 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.

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass.

It's learning to dance in the rain.