Whilst it appears that we are living in unprecedented times, during which fear, anxiety and nervousness are all rational feelings, we do have coping mechanisms that we can call upon to help us to continue to feel alive.
The death of a loved one is the most brutal and painful experience that we will ever have to face; and I say this with a lot of conviction, having experienced 7 significant losses within my own family over the last 7 years. However, there are so many different types of loss that are all equally valid, including ambiguous loss – which includes miscarriages, dementia, missing persons; as well as a symbolic loss – which includes loss of independence, redundancy, vision, freedom. Whichever way we look at it, a loss is still very much about something that we are missing and need to process to be able to live fully once more.
During these exceptionally challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic, there are significant differences presented in how we as a society are expected to grieve for our loved ones. For example, where people have died, the family are often unable to have closure due to the lack of opportunity to follow cultural traditions. People are dying alone; in hospitals and care homes and this results in the families feeling a deep sense of regret, guilt and helplessness in not being able to say goodbye.
The following are a few of my tried and trusted techniques for dealing with the pain of loss, to focus on living through the experience and reaching a new normal.
Work through the process – in order to heal
Grief is a natural response to loss; therefore, it is so important to acknowledge the emotional suffering and to grieve in a way which will help you to heal. Grief is a process which is not linear – so work timely through each of the stages of: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, which are all significant. Try not to rush the process as you go through each stage.
- Pain is physically painful and you will need to be mindful of the pressure placed on your bodies. Tears will flow, and this is normal, so allow the process, as tears can release the stress within your bodies.
- Ensure you are protecting and strengthening your immune system, for example ensuring you have a high intake of vitamin C and vitamin B6.
- Despite social distancing, ensure you have appropriate support around you via phone or online so that you can talk openly about your feelings.
- You may find solace in connections with your spirituality – as a sense of healing and finding meaning.
Re-adjusting to life – focus on YOU
- This is the therapeutic stage during which you will be acknowledging and making sense of the loss in recognising that the world hasn’t changed, but YOU have – and this enables you to move into a place of healing where the focus is on self-compassion and self-care.
- I believe Nature provides great healing powers – and is important for our mental health and wellbeing. We can honour the process by walking and breathing in the fresh air and taking notice of things around us.
- You may find comfort in honouring the memory of your loved ones by writing a journal, and including certain things they used to say to you, or, recording special memories about them. Writing is a way of helping people to come to terms with the sorrow they feel at the death of a loved one.
Sonia Moore is founder of Mooreoptions Skills Development Training. She is an experienced Counsellor and Tutor with over 25 years of working within FE colleges, community hubs and the voluntary sector. She has a wealth of experience in listening to and honouring the experiences of many people who have shared their personal journeys. She is able to call upon her professional expertise and own personal experiences to support others in reaching some understanding of how to replace pain and find peace.
Her new online course aptly titled Living through Loss starts on 23rd June 2020. Click here for more information and to book a place. Follow Mooreoptions Skills Development on Facebook here for more insights into coping with grief.