The COVID-19 pandemic deprives us of personal contact and involvement in others’ lives. Isolation and the absence of interaction with others can be very traumatic.
Alison James (2015) refers to traumatic events like the death of a loved one or any circumstances where one is deprived of something dear to them as “loss-events”. The pandemic created many loss-events. Due to lockdown restrictions, it is not possible to drop in for a visit to our loved ones. However, when we do have the privilege of paying someone a visit, social distancing rudely awakens the reality of separation, which causes emotional disconnection. This lack of togetherness creates a certain sense of loss and down-heartedness. Johann Hari (Lost Connections, 2019), speculated that feeling disheartened could be a form of grief, grief for our lives not being as they should.
The outcome of any loss or traumatic experience (like the pandemic) ends in grief, which is the normal and natural response to loss. More than often, grief is worsened by means of language; for instance, telling someone to “just get over” their disappointment of not being able to visit a family member in hospital or not being able to visit a favourite holiday spot, merely accentuates the sadness associated with their feeling of loss. Listening with a “loving and sensitive” ear may ease their burden.
We may also lessen the “loss-events” in these pandemic times by way of focusing on the uplifting narratives of how a person’s unselfish and lovable actions reduced the distress of others. For example, stories of medical staff tenderly reaching out to patients trying to fill the loss of being without their loved ones in their last hours etc.
If your loss has become too heavy to carry and you need assistance to manage your grieve, get help from professional therapists.