A Pandemic and Grief

The worst kind of grief is unrecognized and unacknowledged grief.

At no point in time has the entire globe been faced with loss in such extreme proportions. All loss creates a feeling of grief in varying degrees. We typically only associate grief with death and the loss of life. However, now as a people the entire globe is dealing with loss on so many levels it is overwhelming.


What is Grief?

Grief is the normal and natural reaction to significant emotional loss of any kind. The conflicting feelings from the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior. Grief is the feeling of reaching out for someone who has always been there, only to find they are no longer there.

Think about what is going on with the global COVID-19 pandemic. People are isolated and not able to see their loved ones. No social gatherings or dinners out are permitted. We have lost our sense of safety and security. People are losing their jobs and are unable to work. Students are unable to go to school, and many will lose out on the reward of a graduation this year. Think about what has been cancelled or significantly delayed, things like weddings, trips and concerts. The list is endless. Let’s not forget the most significant, on an emotional level, being the loss of loved ones from the virus itself, and then not being able to say good-bye or have a traditional farewell.

Yes, in the “grand scheme of things,” it is easy to compare the losses and rate their significance. But all loss is real, and we are all feeling loss to some extent. This is not a time to judge or compare loss but to appreciate that we are all grieving on some level. Our grief unites us and should not be used to divide us.

The person you avoid getting too close to at the grocery store is grieving. Your neighbor next door is grieving. Everyone, and I mean everyone is grieving in some way, shape or form. Instead of judging them, find compassion for them and for yourself instead.

Not everyone reacts to grief in a healthy way, nor do they know how to, so be patient with others. Be patient with yourself. Most of all, recognize that we are all grieving now, at this point in history.

We are facing a pandemic of grief. How we react and respond to it will either makes us better individually, as couples, as families, as communities, as countries, as nations and as a global community of people… or it will tear us down and apart. It starts with each of us individually. If you are finding it too much to bear, please reach out for support. You are not alone.

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