For those of us who’ve lost a loved one during this unprecedented time, the ability to grieve and move on with life isn’t as easy as it once was, as social distancing is making it harder to find closure and have human contact.
David Kessler, a well-known grief expert, advises anyone who’s had to delay or postpone a funeral or memorial service to find new ways to connect with others in the short term to work through their loss, such as the following:
- Checking with funeral homes to see if you can livestream the casket for family members or if they can record a video and put it on a hard drive/CD to give to family members
- Showing photos or putting together a little video with home movies and photos that you share over video chat with others grieving
- Holding a memorial service over video chat so others who are grieving your loved one’s death have a way to come together and tell stories
- Inviting a clergy person to speak and offer words of comfort over the phone or video chat and even asking someone to sing like they would at in-person memorial service
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend several other actions you can take to help you cope with feelings of grief while practicing social distancing and honoring your loved one, such as the following:
- Creating a virtual memory book, blog or webpage to remember your loved one and asking family and friends to contribute their memories and stories
- Participating in an activity that has significance to you and the loved one you have lost, such as preparing a favorite meal, in memory of your loved one
- Seeking spiritual support from faith-based organizations, including religious leaders and congregations or other trusted community leaders and friends
- Using grief counseling services, support groups or hotlines that are offered over the phone or online, or seeking support from a mental health care provider
- Reading books about grief and loss, especially age-appropriate ones if you have children so you can read to them and talk with them about how they’re feeling
- Establishing a date and time for family and friends to honor your loved one by reciting a selected poem, spiritual reading or prayer from within their own homes
- Asking family and friends to share stories and pictures with you via phone, video chat, email, text message, photo-sharing apps, social media or mailed letters
“‘Tsunami of Grief’ to Hit as More Loved Ones Die,” Jennifer Clopton, webmd.com, April 13, 2020.
“Funeral Guidance for Individuals and Families,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cdc.gov, May 10, 2020.