How to Support Those who are Grieving During the Pandemic
During these uncertain times, we know many in our communities and across the nation are struggling through great loss of family members and/or friends. The coronavirus (or COVID-19) presents many challenges for those in mourning. No matter the cause, we understand the loss can be a lot to bear. While we currently see no end in sight, we must radically change the way we provide support.
Gathering together is difficult during this time, but there are other ways you can support your loved ones such as:
Every person grieves differently, so it is best to approach others with extreme care. Do not assume that you know how a grieving person is feeling; rather, ask them how they are. Asking someone and trying to understand the emotions they’re going through at this time is significantly better and more helpful than saying “You must feel (fill in the blank) right now.” Take time to understand the complexity of the situation, and how it affects the grieving person.
It’s hard not to be able to gather together during this time and we know that has taken a significant toll on our friends and loved ones. Many have broken the barrier by reaching out one of these ways:
- Social media
- Phone calls
- Video chatting using Zoom, Google Hangouts, even Facebook has FaceTime for video chats!
- Send a card or letter
Being Emotionally Present
When situations such as these arrive, we would normally solve it by taking them to lunch, bringing food/flowers/cards, and visits in general. Sadly, we cannot do many of those things at the moment; however, it is important to still remain present with a grieving person. Be sure to check in with them in purposeful and meaningful ways such as:
- Sending a small gift
- Flowers can still be sent
- Gift cards, books, photos, etc.
- Create and send a playlist for the person
Remember that Grief Doesn’t Just End
While the health crisis will end and life will return to normal (whatever ‘normal’ may be), grief doesn’t just end. People who have experienced loss during this time will need even more support. You need to do your best to be there for the grieving person in any of the ways we’ve mentioned previously. If someone intends to hold a service once it is safe to do so, please attend.
Grieving during this time can be an overwhelming, stressful struggle and it is never easy. However, it is important for all of us to focus on the future and do our best to demonstrate love, support, and care to all of our loved ones, even if we cannot do so in person!
365 Days of Healing
With our daily emails of comfort and hope, you will feel supported knowing we’re here to walk with you through your journey of grief.
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Just One of Many
Here’s one example of our 365 Days of Healing emails, designed to offer advice, tell stories, and otherwise help you heal.
Grief & Healing Websites
GriefShare is a friendly, caring group of people who will walk alongside you through one of life’s most difficult experiences.
Web Healing offers grief discussion boards where you can talk with others who are grieving or browse recommended books on grief.
The Compassionate Friends
Whether your family has had a child die (at any age, from any cause), or you are helping those who have gone through this life-altering experience, The Compassionate Friends exists to provide friendship, understanding, and hope to those going through the grieving process as a parent.
With AARP you’ll find articles, discussions, and helpful information on dealing with end-of-life care, the challenges faced by caregivers, and how to deal with grief after a loss.
Children & Grief
When a loved one dies, it can be difficult to know how to help kids cope with the loss, particularly as you work through your own grief. By being open and honest, encouraging communication, and sharing your own feelings, you and your children can cope with painful times and begin your healing journey together.
The following links provide more detailed information on topics related to helping children and teens cope with loss.
When Families Grieve™
This guide was created by Sesame Workshop, the educational organization behind Sesame Street. It explores children's understanding of death and offers information about communicating, ideas for coping together, and ways to move forward with your children after a loss.
Launch Site >>
Helpful Children's Books
This list from Allina Health recommends children’s books that deal with death and grief. There are suggestions for children of all ages, from preschool to age 12. They also have books for different types of losses, such as the loss of a parent, sibling, grandparent, friend, or pet. With these books, you can start a meaningful conversation with your child and help them understand their feelings.
Here you'll find a Huffington Post article by Judith Acosta containing advice and guidance from her book Verbal First Aid, which counsels parents on ways to help kids heal from fear and pain in a variety of situations, including the death of a loved one. If you find the advice in the article helpful, you may want to read her book for even more insight.