Today we have a post kindly written for us by guest writer Geraldine Mace. You can learn more about the services offered by Geraldine here.
When someone dies it is devastating, sometimes it has been expected, sometimes it is sudden and shocking, and it hurts. Everyone feels their grief at one hundred per cent so this blog is not about comparing whether losses experienced during the Coronavirus lockdown are worse than before, rather it is about the way Coronavirus can complicate the grieving process.
Not long after lockdown started, someone I know called me worried that their relation wasn’t doing too well. They hadn’t been right for a few months. Even so, they had been helping at a family function the week before so it couldn’t be so bad, could it? Things started getting worse and the relation had to go into hospital but because of Coronavirus restrictions, they had to go alone. The relatives were left to worry at home receiving only one update per day about how things were. Then came the awful news that their relative had died. Only one next of kin was allowed to see the relative following the death. There were no visits allowed to the Chapel of Rest and the funeral was restricted to a handful of mourners. Totally heartbreaking.
For everyone in this situation, it brings a dimension of unresolved grief that may cause pain and limit fond memories of their loved one. When I talk about unresolved grief it is the unfinished business that we had with our loved one. Things that we might wish had been different. In the heart-breaking Coronavirus situation, loved ones have been denied the last opportunity to say ‘I love you’ before the death or maybe there were other things they would have liked to say but just didn’t get the chance.
Unresolved grief is also about unrealised hopes, dreams and expectations and while we don’t often think about such things, in a corner of your mind, you probably had an expectation that when your loved one died you would have the opportunity to be there to say ‘goodbye’ and hold their hand. Instead, so many people are currently haunted by the fact that their loved one died alone with no family there to comfort them. Many people are now struggling with feelings of guilt that they should have been able to do more, be there and are finding that it goes round and round in their mind. The funeral is another instance where there is an expectation of sharing last goodbyes with family and friends in a traditional way with the opportunity to share memories with others that knew and loved them. This ritual has also been taken away by the Coronavirus situation.
If this has happened to you, try not to isolate yourself in your grief. Reach out to family and friends using the telephone, Messenger, WhatsApp, Zoom. Share memories/photos of your loved one with each other. Lighting a candle at the time of the funeral can be a help to family and friends who are not able to attend. You could also make plans for a memorial service when restrictions have been lifted to honour the memory of your loved one.
If you’re struggling and would like to know more about the services I offer, please don’t hesitate to contact me – firstname.lastname@example.org or 07707 644445