At this point in the global COVID-19 pandemic, many people have either lost someone to the virus or know somebody who has. While reading about the rising coronavirus death toll in the news is disturbing, hearing about the death of someone you know, directly or indirectly, hits far closer to home.
Those who have lost loved ones to COVID often struggle to balance their feelings of grief and sadness with anger over something that was preventable. This combination of emotions makes coping with a coronavirus loss extremely difficult, particularly when the virus keeps us apart from our family and friends during the grieving process.
But social distancing doesn’t mean complete isolation. There are still ways you can get support as you come to terms with a COVID-19 loss.
Join a Virtual Support Group
All across the country, virtual support groups are popping up on Facebook to provide a safe place for people to grieve the loss of a loved one to coronavirus. These groups offer support in the form of Zoom meetings, help forums, and private messages.
Do a Facebook search of support groups in your area to connect with people who understand what you’re going through. If there isn’t a local group yet, consider starting one yourself. Helping others can be a great way to make yourself feel better.
Call a Coronavirus Hotline
Many organizations have set up call centers offering live support to those struggling with the pandemic, whether it be frontline workers or people who have recently lost someone. The Red Cross, for example, has a variety of virtual and telephone resources to support those experiencing a COVID-19 loss. The CDC has also compiled a list of grief counseling resources, including phone numbers to call.
Connect with Family and Friends via Phone or Video Chat
Many psychologists have criticized the term “social distancing” for being inaccurate in a time when we can connect with loved ones virtually; they suggest using the term “physical distancing” instead. For while we may have to remain apart in physical form, we can still have much of the same mental and spiritual connection using modern technology.
Some families have found great comfort in hosting a virtual memorial on a videoconferencing platform like Zoom or Skype. The whole family gets together and shares memories of the loved one who has passed, much like at a funeral. This can be a source of catharsis and consolation that helps everyone come to terms with a death in the family together.
If that feels like too much emotionally, simply calling a close friend on the telephone helps too.
Seek Comfort in Your Faith
Many of us turn to a higher power in times of loss to guide us through the grieving process and remind us of a larger plan. Religion and spirituality are a great source of solace for members of any faith or philosophy. You might seek solace in the form of prayer, meditation, or study of a religious text.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.