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Grieving Alone & Together COVID-19

Grieving Alone and Together: Responding to the loss of your loved one during the COVID-19 pandemic

By Sara Murphy PhD, CT

The following is the text from Grieving Alone and Together: Responding to the Loss of Your Loved One During the COVID-19 Pandemic by Sara Murphy, PhD, CT, with a foreword by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. 

Foreword By Alan D. Wolfelt, PhD 

Someone you love has died. The death of a loved one is always difficult, but it is likely that the COVID-19 pandemic has made the circumstances of the death, as well as your family’s grief, especially challenging.

As you know, hospital visitations, travel, and gatherings have been severely restricted. You may have been prevented from visiting the person who was dying, traveling to be near the person or other loved ones, and even holding a funeral (or the service you wanted). And others may have been unable to visit you and offer their support in person.

No matter the cause of the death, these exceptional circumstances are no doubt making things even more distressing for you and your family. I am sorry you have been so deeply affected by this time of hardship.

The information in this booklet will help you better understand your unique grief and the care for you’ll need for yourself and your family (including children) in the months to come. In the short-term, it will also help you work with your funeral director to put together a funeral or memorial service plan to best meet your family’s needs to grieve, mourn, and support one another.

Remember, there is no rulebook for what we are experiencing during this pandemic. You are doing the best you can, given the situation. So is everyone else. Be kind to yourself, and though the stress of traumatic grief can certainly make it difficult, try to be patient with others.

Perhaps the one “rule” is to be open and honest as you share your thoughts and feelings with friends and family. Expressing your inner grief is called mourning, and over time and with the support of others, mourning – bit by bit, day by day – is how you begin to integrate this tragic loss into your life.

And please hold onto hope. Even as you are grieving, the people and activities that help you feel hopeful about the future are a lifeline right now. Look to them for comfort and connection.

About the Author: Alan D. Wolfelt, PhD, is an author and educator on companioning others and healing in grief. He is on the faculty of the University of Colorado Medical School’s Department of Family Medicine and serves as director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition, in Fort Collins, Colorado.

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