Pandemic Grief – Do You Feel it, Too?

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Grief has a way of rushing in when you least expect it.

It’s ugly. It’s painful. It’s universal.

Grief is an all-inclusive journey that every person will be on at some point in life.

National Grief Awareness Day is observed each year on the 30th of August. It seems like a strange day to observe, but after dealing firsthand with the most immense grief I’ve ever experienced this past year after the sudden loss of my brother, it absolutely deserves a day. It deserves to be talked about — and so do our own grief journeys.

According to Psychology Today, “Grief is the acute pain that accompanies loss. Because it is a reflection of what we love, it can feel all-encompassing.” Grief and love go hand in hand.

Maybe your grief is over the loss of a loved one. If so, I empathize, and my heart breaks for you. But maybe the grief you are experiencing right now has nothing to do with the physical loss of a person in your life. Maybe you’ve “lost” something else …

I personally know people right now, in this very moment, who are dealing with grief – whether it be fresh wounds or the ongoing, dull pain that evolves over time – of all sorts of losses: loss of a father, son, husband, brother, mother, father, sister, marriage, friend, young child, unborn baby, broken relationship, life-altering diagnosis, loss of mobility, loss of a life once envisioned. 

These days, we moms have even more “losses” to consider in our lives with the pandemic that shifted our world. We grieve with one another in new ways – over jobs that no longer exist, businesses that could not stay afloat, the routines in our daily life that are no longer, the security and certainty that we took for granted before Covid-19, the marriages and events that did not happen or turn out as planned …

We grieve the days we used to go back-to-school shopping without masks, school days with freedom and interaction with other kids, playdates, and unlimited places to go with our families, our life as it was without so much fear in day-to-day activities. 

We grieve human connection.

Yes, a global pandemic can surely take grief to a whole new level. But, what you need to know is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE

I’m in no way an expert, but I have found some things to be helpful in my own grief journey, and I’d like to offer some tips and resources to help you through your grief as well. 

  1. If you’re dealing with the loss of a loved one, I highly recommend joining a GriefShare group near you. I dug my heels in at first, but this 13-week group was one of the best things I did for myself. Moms, get yourself a babysitter and carve out the time. It’s worth it! https://www.griefshare.org/ 
  2. Don’t ignore your pain. Let yourself feel it, and find a trusted friend you can talk to about what you’re going through. 
  3. Talk therapy. I’m a firm believer that every person could use some therapy to help them deal with life’s hardships. Parents with kids in the Missouri First Steps program, there are some excellent social workers there just to support you and your families! 
  4. Read some books written by people who have experienced what you’re going through. 
  5. Don’t withdraw. It’s so easy to do (especially if you have some strong introverted tendencies like me), but when you are grieving, you NEED people. We are created for community to support one another. Find a local church or MOPS group to plug into. 
  6. Treat yourself like you are in intensive care. Move your body, try to get quality sleep, drink your water, and eat healthfully. Back to the basics!
  7. Don’t compare your grief to anyone else’s. Give yourself time and be gracious to yourself. Sometimes it’s two steps forward, one step back, and that’s ok.
  8. Focus on the here and now, and look for little things to be grateful for every day. 
  9. Don’t hesitate to talk with your doctor to discuss options for navigating if you are concerned about your mental health. 
  10. Do things you enjoy and get outside as much as possible.

You may have heard about the five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. In my experience, grief is not a step-by-step path. It’s messier and much more complex than that. I’m a huge Brene Brown fan, and I loved this podcast episode with David Kessler, which introduces another element to our grief – “finding meaning.”

Whatever type of grief you are experiencing today, you aren’t alone. It can feel overwhelming, but there is hope!

Moms, let’s stick together. Keep checking in on your people.

We need each other now more than ever!