Grief is never easy. It never was and never will be. It is even more difficult during times of great stress, such as we are currently undergoing with the coronavirus pandemic. With the current «Safer at Home» provisions, we do not have the option of having the comforting company of friends and family with you at a memorial service.
This is not said to negate the importance of social distancing; it is merely a point that part of the grief process, which includes the gathering of those closest to us, is no longer available.
We at Forest Lawn are offering the families we serve the choice of holding memorial services at a later date.
While this is a good option, the here and now reality of grief is still something to address. Most of us are staying at home and not engaged at work or in a particular hobby or activity, which gives us more time in our loneliness to think and ponder, without any distractions. The uncertainty of what is going to happen to us now and in the future, and the constant reminders of illness and death all around us, wreak havoc on our mental well being.
And if we’re in the midst of grieving, it is all compounded.
According to a recent article on PsychologyToday.com, there are a few steps we can take to help us better cope during this pandemic while in grief. One, we can openly admit that these times are indeed more difficult. We can acknowledge and accept the fact that we are under additional stress. We should be easier on ourselves, forgive ourselves, and not blame ourselves if we don’t have it «all together» right now.
We can also, despite our directed isolation, stay connected with family and friends. Technology is a wonderful blessing. Smart phones, Skype, Zoom, video chat– you name it—are all available. It’s never been easier or more cost effective to keep in touch. Make an appointment with someone if that’s what it takes to make your connection.
If you’re having difficulty coping with the coronavirus pandemic in general, the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health has compiled some helpful resources that address mental health and wellbeing needs and concerns. Their website is https://dmh.lacounty.gov/covid-19-information/ .