COVID-19 has drastically changed our lives, our relationships and most importantly our outlook towards life. With the pandemic claiming lives, the sudden news of the death of a loved one may be very disheartening. It is natural to experience intense grief over the demise of a loved one. From disbelief to denial, shock, pain, anger and guilt, these are the various stages that an individual goes through, while gradually acclimatizing to internalize the loss.

Bouts of emotional outpour, frustration and episodes of irritation would be common. The bereaved person may lose appetite, develop a low profile, either pouring out their cries or may go into total disbelief and silence. The person may irrationality plead to the almighty to bring the dead person back to life or may even express their intense anger on the demise, with flashbacks of cherished memories emerging before him/her. Bidding a goodbye forever is one of the hardest parts of life. It leaves you totally shattered and miserable.

However, no amount of anger, anguish or sorrow, can change the facts or reverse an event. Pouring out your emotions is a natural process and somewhere deep down with passing days, we would come to the realization that though the loved ones have permanently left a dent in our heart, their memories still linger around us. Here are few tips to cope with the loss of a love one:

  • The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on many of funeral rituals. This inability to engage in traditions that support the grieving process can make it that much more difficult to cope. We are refrained to turn to others in our lives for support. We cannot gather with friends and family to cry, share happy memories, and offer care and support to one another. With the norm of physical distancing, we may never get the needed comfort of an embrace or the shoulders of a trusted person, having to cope with grief alone away from friends and distant family. With strict isolation, you may miss the final farewell or funeral service. Plan to be available online or plan a virtual memorial service for the poignant last moments of the deceased. Honouring the last services of your loved one is a very assuaging process.

  • Relive joyous times when the person was alive as it can offer a bright spot during these dark times. Memories last a lifetime and collect photos, make collages and display them as a reminiscence of your lost loved one. Talk virtually to your loved one, cry your heart out till you come to a natural stop. With the passage of time, your emotional wounds would go through a healing process and you would accept the bitter facts of life to keenly move on.
  • Work on yourself through the pain of loss. Give yourself time and space to come to the phase of acceptance and acknowledging that your loved one is not physically present, but you would always retain his/her memories, relish the joy and love you shared with the person.
  • Focus on your self-care aftermath the period of loss. Eat your meals on time, stay hydrated and also get that dose of rest and sleep to replenish your mental stamina. Read some books or keep yourself engaged in a light activity to pass your time and reduce numbness. No amount of regret or living in denial can better the situation, so be practical and dealing with your feelings in a valid manner. Connect with your peers, close family remotely to get that much-needed encouragement and words of solace.
  • Should you find coping difficult, and are spiralling into depression, do get in touch with a virtual therapist or avail clinical help. Get proper clinical assistance to express yourself and access to appropriate medication to gather hope to deal with normal life again.

Althaf Ali & Alvina Clara