If fighting this pandemic is one horrendous process then dealing with grief during lockdown is another level of pain and suffering for the ones who have lost their loved ones.
Again and again, I keep on stressing over the fact that we are fighting shadow pandemic, twindemic. We are not only fighting coronavirus, but it has encapsulated other underlying issues like physical illness, mental illness, financial crisis, domestic violence, sexual abuse, substance abuse to name a few.
We are witnessing one of the biggest medical tragedies known to mankind and the after-effects will stay for a long time among all of us.
Amid all this mess, sadness, isolation, quarantine, how does one grieve? How does one mourn for the departed soul? Bereavement is a painful process followed by the loss of someone near and dear to one, which leads to grief and mourning.
3 reasons why dealing with grief during lockdown is too painful
Now, because of social distancing and COVID protocols, people are not able to mourn and it is creating a lot of suffering and sadness in them. Dealing with grief during lockdown is like sinking in the deepest ocean and know you are sinking alone, but you let yourself hit the deepest spot, the rock bottom to hide and isolate your pain. A few reasons why dealing with grief during the lockdown is way too painful:
1.) Not being able to the proper rites and rituals for their loved ones creates a sense of restlessness in family members.
2.) In a normal course, when someone passes away in the family, the family member pays regular visits and makes sure that the family members feel safe and secure. We humans need to be hugged touched and consoled physically when we are in tremendous pain, which is not happening right now., leading to a lot of mental distress.
3.) Proper closures are not happening due to sudden and unexpected death, which increases a sense of guilt in other family members. In spite of having all the money and contacts, the individual who is not able to save the life of his family members carries a pang of guilt within him/her. It increases pain and suffering.
How can we console someone who is grieving?
In situations like these, grief could be backed up with denial, anger, frustration, depression, and acceptance issues. Dealing with grief during lockdown is a mind-boggling process, one has to go through, that too alone and inadequate grief could create long-term problems.
Nothing can make go away the loss of the loved one, a family member. But due to closures not happening the way they should have been, pain and suffering stay a little longer.
You might notice that some people cope better with grief and wonder how? But it has a lot to do with the person, the loss, and the cause of death. How prepared were you? Or was it sheer unexpected. That’s how some people take a longer time to recover from this loss.
You might feel guilty and curse yourself for not doing anything but,
1.) It is natural to feel guilty in such situation where you cannot do anything about it
2.) Thoughts like, I should have done something about it, are natural
Now with the limited access, the biggest challenge is to help someone who is dealing with grief during lockdown. Here a few things you can try:
1.) A lot of listening is needed, acknowledge
2.) Give them safe space, don’t force them
3.) Do not ask, how it happened, don’t make them go through it all over again and again
4.) Encourage them to vent out their anger, frustration, guilt, or any feeling, it will make them feel lighter.
5.)Tell them you know that it is difficult for them to talk about it, and you understand that.
6.) If you feel confused about what to say and what not to say, then just stay with the person, check on them and be there for them. Any help is help.
In due course of time, grief resolves and the sadness gets replaced by the memories, but it takes time, and dealing with grief during lockdown will take a hell of a time. Normally grief lasts for about 6 months to 1 year but if it lasts for more than a year, it is better to see a therapist and speak to someone. As it is unhealthy to get stuck in one place for too long.
Love and light
Priyanka Nair is the author of 26 Days 26 Ways for a Happier you and Ardhaviram. An NLP practitioner and Founder of Sanity Daily, helping you prioritize your mental health. Let’s build a happy community.