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Grief and Bereavement During the Pandemic

woman helping a neighbour

Credit: Andre Ouellet via Unsplash

During the coronavirus pandemic everyone has had to adjust to spending less time with their family, friends and loved ones. This has been difficult for everybody, but if you have suffered a bereavement or are grieving then the restrictions may have taken an even greater toll. Funeral Guide has put together some advice on how you can best cope with grief and bereavement while staying socially-distant from your usual support network.

How can I cope with grief while cut off from my family and friends?

Although family and friends may not be able to be with you physically at the moment, you may still find it helpful to talk to loved ones about how you are all coping with your grief. Technology gives us all a great way to stay connected, but it often feels like more of an effort than simply talking face to face. Many people find that adding some additional structure can help them with this. Try arranging a certain time each day to talk to someone. If you would normally just phone, try using Skype, Zoom, Facetime or another video messaging app instead. Seeing your loved ones may help you to feel more connected to them.

Keep making time for yourself

It is very easy to forget to look after yourself if you are grieving, or looking after someone who has recently been bereaved. It is important that you do make time for yourself, and try and keep to as regular a routine as you can. Start the day by getting up at the same time as you normally would, and try and do some exercise each day - even if that is just walking around the block. If you have a garden, you could spend some time each day weeding or planting new flowers. If you enjoy baking, then try a new recipe or go back to an old favourite.

You should always remember that it is okay to ask for help. Talk to family, friends, or a charity if you feel that you need more help, or if you feel like you are not coping.

Ask for practical support

Because of the pandemic, you may feel as if you cannot ask for practical help and support. This is not the case however. If you are unable to get your daily tasks done, then ask your support network for help. Family and friends can cook meals and deliver them to you, they can do your shopping, and as long as you abide by the rule of six and social-distance, you can still have help with keeping your house clean and tidy. Often when people don’t know what to say after a bereavement, they will be very happy to give you some practical help with tasks such as these.

If you are shielding or in a more vulnerable group, and do not have family or friends who can help you, there are volunteers who can help you with things like your shopping, picking up prescriptions and preparing meals for you.

How can I look after someone who is grieving during the pandemic?

If you know someone who has been bereaved during the pandemic and want to help, then you can use all of the above information for inspiration. It is always worth reaching out, even if you do not quite know what to say. If you can offer any help with practical tasks such as shopping or cooking then let them know. If not, then simply arranging a time to phone or video call can allow you to get a better idea of what might be helpful. Don’t worry about not knowing what to say. Just making the effort to listen is often the most appreciated gesture you can make.

For up to date advice on arranging and attending funerals at this time, please see our coronavirus advice page.

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