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Grief, Loss…and a Pandemic

Grief, Loss…and a Pandemic | After the Heartbreak
Grief, Loss…and a Pandemic

I wasn’t planning on writing anything about the COVID-19 global pandemic because… well….I’m more focussed on surviving grief and the loss of a loved one, and how to deal with that kind of personal nightmare. But then all of a sudden the penny dropped.

You idiot!” I said to myself while rolling my eyes and smacking my forehead, “The whole WORLD is grieving!!!!”

As a widow who lives alone, I’m actually doing OK through this global upheaval, and when others ask how I’m coping, I say “I’m fine. I’ve had some practice.”

This is because I already know what it is like to have everything you thought you knew, snatched away.

Over time I’ve developed coping mechanisms and I’ve made a list of 6 of these which have particularly helped me. I thought I’d share my list as it might help others. 💔

During this time of a global pandemic, many people are grieving specific losses such as having their dream holiday cancelled or being able to cuddle a new grandchild, but in fact what everyone is really grieving about is the loss of what each individual thinks of as ‘normal‘.

People are grieving for loved ones they can no longer hug. Grieving for the loss of a sense of security and safety. Not to mention, profound loss of that comfortable feeling inside that makes you think “I’ve got this…I understand my world….I know what is coming next”.

Except then it turns upside down and everything you thought you knew and understood about yourself, your life your work, your community, is suddenly gone and the rug is pulled out from under you. Scary stuff.

Read: It’s like losing control of everything

So here’s my list. I’ve tried to explain what has helped me while grieving the loss of my husband (especially at the beginning) and also how I’ve extended it to help me cope during the pandemic and subsequent self-isolation.

* Click/tap on the headings below to reveal the pearls of wisdom 😋

I’m horrified at the length of this post! Despite my attempts to prevent it becoming a scrolling nightmare, it has turned into an extremely lengthy read. Sorry ’bout that. 😘 I guess trying to cover coping mechanisms for grief in two disparate…but comparable… situations was never going to be brief.

These have been MY coping mechanisms though, and I would just love it if you would click the Comment link below to share your own.

One day we will look back on COVID-19 as something in the past. That’s the big difference with grieving the loss of a loved one though, as it’s forever. The coping strategies have to last a lifetime and not just a few weeks or months.

Hang in there. We’ll make it. ❤️

Marlene is an Australian widow who has written about all the good, bad and ugly stuff that happened after her husband Norbert died tragically. Marlene responds to all comments.

  • Heather Waring says:

    I’m not sure we ever come out of grief unchanged. Yes, fortunately the COVID-19 disruptions will come to an end and return to ‘normal’, but what will we (personally and as a society) be like? I think there will be changes – obviously not as drastic as the death of someone close to us, but my hope and prayer is that from the forced dismantling of the walls of our life ‘trenches’, some new awareness will have sparked. So my coping mechanism is definitely Hope.

    • Marlene says:

      Hi Heather, I actually don’t believe we ever ‘come out of grief’ as we carry it with us for the rest of our lives. That said, it does get easier to bear. I agree with your thoughts about COVID-19…..people talk about ‘getting back to normal’ but I think the world will see a ‘new normal’. 🙂

  • Cheryl says:

    This is an excellent list. All of the suggestions are useful, practical and attainable. Thank you Marlene.

    • Marlene says:

      Hi Cheryl, thank you for your lovely comment. I can only share what works for me so if others find my suggestions useful, then that’s wonderful! 🙂

  • Helen says:

    Hi Marlene,
    I think we both were going to take the Rocky Mountaineer trip from Vancouver to Calgary in late August. There hasn’t been a cancellation yet but we are planning to postpone it to the same time next year. What are you planning?
    I’ve been working in my garden during the isolation and enjoying the beauty it provides. My husband passed away 20 years ago so I’ve definitely lived through those difficult first years after his death. I’ve actually survived, but there isn’t a day that passes that I do not fondly think of him and the life we had together. I’m still in our same home and I love to do things around here to make it mine.
    All your isolation suggestions are right on and help make the time pass with purpose. Do take care! I love reading your posts.

    • Marlene says:

      Thanks so much for your comment Helen, and your kind words. I think my Rocky Mountaineer trip is definitely going to be cancelled for this year, but I too plan to simply push it forward until 2021. It’s the only option really. Oh well….we’ll get there! 🙂

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