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Coping with grief through covid-19

My youngest son, Martice, was one of 5 students chosen to attend a conference in Portland, Oregon - all expenses paid by the University of Akron. He was chosen because of his outstanding academic performance in English. I was so proud of him and was excited as I said goodbye and he headed for the airport. I quickly drove to a busy day at work and didn’t make it home until 7:30 that evening.

I came home to a silence I had not experienced before. I realized that both of my sons would be gone soon. My role of soccer mom was truly over. I was overwhelmed by grief; being a mom was the most important job I had done for 25 years! Although I am fortunate to have a new husband, it was just not the same. My “boys” were my life; I breathed, worked, and lived for them. Now What?!

Empty nest and many life transitions like the death of a spouse or partner can be devastating. You might feel totally overwhelmed to the point your heart actually feels broken. Each individual’s grief is unique. Although society grants us 3 working days to “get over” our loss, we truly never get over the loss of someone we love. Over time we learn to live with the pain. What are some of the things that we miss?

* They were your best friend

* They provided you with unconditional love

* They were the only person that truly knew you

* Your home feels empty

* They were your source of intimacy and comfort

* You will miss out on so many new adventures; things you promised to each other

The Pandemic just contributes more to this isolation and loss; you could not say goodbye to those you love through a normal funeral service. Your adult children cannot come to your home for a weekly visit. Social distancing keeps you from the hugs and support you need during your loss.

But coping with your grief is important to your mental health. Here are a few things you can do to help ease the pain:

* Seek out caring people: find friends and relatives who can understand your feelings. Join a virtual support group.

* Get on Zoom or the many free meeting websites available and invite your friends to a virtual get-together. Express your feelings: tell others how you feel. Your feelings are valid and deserve affirmation.

* If technology has no appeal to you, ask your friends to meet you at a park; bring your own lawn chairs and munchies, sit in a big social distancing circle and enjoy each other’s company.

* Take care of your health: maintain regular contact with your family physician, eat well, and try to get some rest.

* Postpone major life changes: hold off on making major changes like moving, dating, remarriage, or changing jobs. You need time to adjust to your loss.

* Seek out a counselor for support: at Hope Behavioral Health we are here to provide you with needed support during this difficult transition. Please feel free to call me at 800-642-4560 or 330-414-7323 and I will be happy to assist you

* Most importantly, be patient and kind to yourself! This is your journey and no one truly knows how it feels but YOU.

Written by: Gizelle Jones

HBH therapist helping those struggling through grief

Gizelle see clients online and in our Hope Behavioral Health Akron office

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