Grief in a Pandemic

I have been reading so many things lately about how the pandemic is uprooting old traumas for all of us. And one collective result - among many - is grief.

I've been listening to clients speak of things to grieve lately as well, because trauma survivors have many things that warrant grieving; the lack of a happy childhood, loss of innocence, the experience of being alone with burdens that are too heavy... There are many losses to honor.

When I started looking up tools and tasks to aid in the grief process, what struck me is this:

The pandemic has rendered many (if not most or all) of them impossible.

These are some of the suggestions for ways to help yourself while you are grieving a loss (whether it's the literal death of a person, or loss of relationship, etc):

  • Spend time with other loved ones or close friends (can't do, because COVID)

  • Take up a new hobby, or resume one that you formerly enjoyed before the loss (not all, but many hobbies involve people or going to places where people might be, which we can't do, because COVID)

  • Talk to people about your feelings (which can be done remotely, but in person is preferable and we can't do, because COVID)

  • Return to "normal" routines as you are ready (can't do, because COVID)

  • Take the time to do something small for someone else on occasion, to take your mind off of the grieving process (for the most part this is difficult to do right now, because COVID)

I mean holy shit, humankind is all going through this collective trauma and we can't even grieve properly because the trauma itself keeps us from doing many of the things we need to do to process it.

No wonder we all feel so lost right now.

Some things we can do are the pandemic-version of the above. Utilize zoom and FaceTime, find hobbies we can do virtually or on our own, express our emotions in journals, etc, and try to create as much 'normalcy' as we can in a time that feels anything but.

Mostly I think it's important to recognize and name that this is difficult for a lot of reasons. It's feeling abandoned, it's feeling forced into isolation, it's feeling afraid of what might come, it's worrying about lack of resources, it's wondering if somehow we caused this, it's the upside-down-inside-out of what used to be safe feeling dangerous now.

I see you. I hear you. I'm listening.


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