Grief and Loss in the Aftermath of Covid-19

As various parts of the world continue to mass vaccinate and move into the aftermath of Covid-19, people are continuing to deal with their grief associated with the pandemic. Many have not been able to be with loved ones during their final moments. For others, there was no funeral service to celebrate their loved one’s life. And for still others, they lost a job or experienced significantly reduced income. The loss, pain, and grief are real, and in many cases are still lingering and unprocessed.

Whether you’ve lost a loved one to the virus or other causes during the course of the pandemic, so many people have not able to process their grief as they’ve continued to navigate the ramifications of the virus in their daily lives. As we move towards the other side of the pandemic, we are starting to process the feelings and emotions associated with our pandemic losses.

Grief and Loss

Grief is a normal response to loss during or after a disaster or traumatic life event. Grief can be a result of the death of a loved one, or a consequence to drastic changes to daily routines and ways of life that typically bring comfort and stability.  

Common grief reactions include:

  • Disbelief, deinal, or shock
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Distress or frustration
  • Anger
  • Periods of sadness or depression
  • Loss of sleep 
  • Loss of appetite

New research on loss and grief amid the COVID-19 pandemic makes a distinction between primary losses and secondary losses. Primary losses are typically tied to major life events, such as the death of a loved one or a job loss. Public health measures to slow or stop the spread of COVID-19 led to many different types of secondary losses, including the loss of relationships, recreational freedom, and social support. These losses often happened at the same time, which worked to complicate or prolong the grief process.

Tips for Coping with Covid Loss and Grief 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many people are experiencing grief during the pandemic. Identifying grief is often the first step to processing it, as sometimes people aren’t aware that what they are feeling or experiencing is due to unprocessed grief.

Know your feelings are valid 

Grief is a complicated and natural response to loss, and there are no right or wrong ways to experience it. Over time, we adapt to loss by accepting our reality and restoring our well-being. Whether your grief manifests as sadness, anger, or intense emotions, be patient with your process.

Understand that sudden loss is difficult to comprehend

After a painful loss, it’s common to try to understand what went wrong or what you could have done differently. When a loved one dies suddenly or under difficult circumstances–as is happening with COVID-19 deaths–it’s easy to get caught up in imagining all kinds of alternative scenarios. This common tendency can sidetrack the healing process and can be counterproductive to the grief process.

Don’t let guilt overwhelm you

Even if you were able to keep your job when others lost theirs, or your loved ones came through the pandemic physically unscathed, you may suffer from survivor’s guilt. Try to not let guilt take over and control your life as you move forward. You deserve to experience joy and positive emotions.

Finding meaning after loss

Finding meaning after loss can be an important part of the grief and healing process. Having faith, whether in our religious beliefs, sense of self, or our connection to community, can help us understand our loss and find a sense of meaning and hope as we heal. However you make sense of faith in your life, it can have a very positive impact following grief and loss.

Seek professional help

If you are struggling with managing your grief, you are not alone. Grief counseling is designed to help you or a loved one work through the feelings, thoughts, and memories associated with your primary loss (death or loss of job) or secondary loss (relationships, freedom, etc.) to eventually arrive at a place of healthy adjustment in your life. 

Cypress Grief Counseling 

At Cypress, we use a combination of scientific techniques, creative solutions, and compassionate care to help children, teens, adults, and couples find the solutions they need to process their grief. We understand that seeking help can feel overwhelming and we want to make the process as smooth as possible.  We offer in-person and teletherapy options to help you navigate your post pandemic loss. 

Contact a member of our team to learn more.