It finally feels like there’s some hope when it comes to seeing the end of this pandemic. But COVID-19 isn’t over yet. Even when it is, it’s impossible to ignore the destruction and devastation it has caused.
People will feel the effects of this pandemic for years to come. It has taken a toll on mental health; it has changed the healthcare industry, and even the way people work.
But, for some, COVID hit on a more personal level.
Over 500,000 people in the United States have died due to COVID-19. While those individuals might be just another number to add to a statistic for some, when they are a loved one of yours, it’s different.
So, how can you handle the loss when someone you care about dies of this virus?
COVID-19 and Accepting Your Feelings
One of the worst parts about losing someone to the pandemic is that it was probably sudden and unexpected. An unexpected loss can feel so much worse, so people tend to handle them in different ways.
However you choose to feel is completely up to you. Accepting your feelings and knowing that they are valid is the first step to grieving properly. Chances are your grief will begin with very intense emotions. You may be in denial, or angry, or you might immediately try to care for others.
It’s easy to get “derailed” in your own thoughts and feelings, too. That’s become a common problem with COVID-19 deaths. You might start thinking about why it had to happen, and what could have been done to prevent it.
While those feelings are just as valid, try not to get caught up in the “what ifs”, as they can hold up the natural grieving process.
Focus On What You Can Control
When you lose someone you love, it can also feel as if you’re losing control. You might become fixated on the things that are completely out of your grasp, which only serves to fuel frustration and hurt.
Instead, use this time to focus on the things you can control. They might be small, everyday things, like choosing to take care of your physical health, or finding time to be mindful each day. Small choices can make a big difference.
The more you shift your thinking to things you can control, the stronger you’ll become, and the easier it will be to rise up to life’s challenges.
COVID-19 and Getting Rid of Guilt
There are plenty of thoughts and emotions that will try to derail your grieving process. Guilt tends to be a big one, especially in dealing with an unexpected death. It can overwhelm you, especially when you wonder why you’re healthy and strong and someone you love had to die because of this disease.
Survivor’s guilt is natural. But keeping an eye on it and making sure it doesn’t consume you is important. Eventually, you need to focus on experiencing joy and contentment in your life again. It’s okay if that takes a while, but don’t hold yourself back from positive experiences and moments of moving forward just because you feel guilty.
The grief of losing someone to COVID can be different from the experience of a traditional loss. If you’re struggling to cope, feel free to contact me. This is a unique period of life, and with so many unexpected deaths due to this illness, it’s okay to feel overwhelmed.
Together, we can work on more ways to handle the loss effectively and in healthy ways that will allow you to grieve on your own timeline, with a focus on eventually moving forward in life.