Social Distancing and Grief


BY: Diane Snyder Cowan, Director of Western Reserve Grief Services

CATEGORY: News and Community; Grief and Loss

​During this time of social distancing, we are grieving the loss of our normal life.  From playdates, to school and work, religious services and yoga classes, our routine has been disrupted. Grief reactions such as fear, anxiety and sadness may be overwhelming.

We are very aware that those who are currently grieving the death of a loved one may be unable to do so in ways they are accustomed to. Meanwhile, those wishing to comfort mourners are also grieving the loss of ability to provide consolation in person.

While funeral services can be streamed via the Web, food can be ordered and delivered, and texts, cards, phone and video calls can keep us connected, we need to acknowledge that for many, it is not the same without hugs, touch and physical closeness.   

For many, grief is an isolating experience. As grief professionals, we typically have encouraged mourners to reach out to one another and perhaps attend a grief support group. However, the world is changing and with the current pandemic, social distancing is now recommended. Gathering in groups at the present time is discouraged. 

So, what are we to do with our grief, our fears and anxiety during this time?  

1. Spread kindness, not germs. Doing acts of kindness is often helpful when grieving. These can be done in honor of your loved one. This might look like a phone call or thoughtful and compassionate words to someone who is isolated. It can be getting groceries or leaving a meal on the doorstep. Be creative. 

2. Stay connected. Social distancing does not mean social disengagement.  Reach out via phone calls or digitally.  Explore those online support groups and websites 

3. Practice self-care. Focus on your breathing. Move your body. Practice mindfulness. These exercises will go a long way in keeping you healthy in body, mind and spirit.

4. Recognize moments of joy.  Take a walk outside.  Let nature do its magic.  Watch a silly video. Facetime with an old friend. Laugh. Smile.  

We care about you and know these are tough times. We continue to be here with comfort and support. Be safe and be well.

We Can Help

Speak with the referral team by contacting us seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Any first visit and admission can be made the first day.

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