Grief and Loss & the Emotional Impact of Covid-19
Much has been written about the emotional impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our lives, and one of the most difficult things we have all had to deal with is loss and the grief of what we have lost. For each one of us, the pandemic has resulted in some sort of loss, and with that comes mourning, grief.
Take a few minutes now to think about what you might have lost - It may be: The chance to be with a sick or dying relative, an important event you had to cancel or postpone indefinitely, the chance to play a season in a particular sport’s team, a special holiday trip that you had to cancel, activities that you will no longer be able to undertake due to economic difficulties in your family, a fun matric year, even just the loss of what we know as our safe “normal” everyday life – like going to school, meeting with friends at the mall, or going to a restaurant for a cup of coffee or a meal. As a community we are all feeling disconnected – we cannot hug our friends, we cannot physically get together and share our loss. We are suffering individual grief as well as collective grief as a community in mourning. The return to school, may provoke more grief – as you mourn the comfort and safety of home that you enjoyed during the lockdown period.
Those who specialize in bereavement or grief therapy talk about stages of grief and how all those who grieve go through stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. We all grieve differently, moving between these stages in different ways and sometimes our emotions can be up and down all in one day. Many people would say they are having good and bad days at this time. Some people may be experiencing certain physical symptoms that are a result of a sense of loss and grief, like irritability, tearfulness, fatigue, memory loss and much more.
Acknowledging and owning your grief is so important right now. Some practical ways you can do this is to write down what you are mourning or grieving, chat to somebody you are close to, and share your sense of loss with each other; if you are creative draw, or write a poem about your loss. Your faith may be a huge source of comfort to you. Now is the time to be compassionate with yourself and with others. It is okay to be emotional and it is also okay to be silent with your grief. If you have ever dealt with grief before this time, you will know what worked for you. It will take time, but we can learn much about courage from this experience if we are open to it. As you go about your day today think about this:
“Things are going to be okay. Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but eventually it will all be okay.” (picturequotes.com)
Liza Reintges is a School Counsellor at Epworth Girls School in KZN, South Africa.