Our world has been turned upside down. Many people are out of work, there are no social gatherings and we crave contact with those we love. Losing a pet at this time compounds the changes we are forced to deal with. Whether you are mourning a human or pet loss, this process is anything but typical. Consequently, mourners will now experience a new type of grief when the traditional and common practices observed surrounding end-of-life are abruptly changed.
While it is important to acknowledge there may be many factors we cannot control, it is crucial for our well-being that we focus on what we DO have control over during this difficult time;
If you are supporting someone who has experienced a loss...
You may wonder,
"If we can’t mourn together in person, how do we offer comfort?
Right now we aren’t able to hug and physically connect, so we need to rely on using our words. We can reach out through phone calls, primarily to listen as the mourner talks about the last hours and the precious memories they have of their dear departed.
If they don't answer, just leaving a message of condolence. Even saying "I know this is really hard," can be very healing to hear.
When you can’t be physically present with a person who is grieving, you can still offer your emotional presence. Sending a card, stuffed animal, candle, pillow or flowers are all appropriate gestures of support. Often what grievers need most is to know that they are not alone.
If you are experiencing a loss...
When you can’t gather in person, technology offers these opportunities:
- Live streaming of events surrounding the loss can be a way to let others be present while not physically being able to be there.
Other "I Can" Opportunities
As you continue to live with the loss, here a few other suggestions to help you deal with that void;
- Garden Planting a garden or tree in honor of your loved one connects you to the future as you look forward to growth and beauty.
- Walk Exercise is important to our mental and physical well-being at any time, but especially when grieving or while confined to our homes. Make sure to follow health experts’ advice on keeping your distance.
- Volunteer Offering to volunteer and/or fostering an animal in need can be helpful at any time, but it may be especially comforting now.
- Journal Writing down your thoughts and emotions can be very therapeutic. Make a gratitude list that you can add to each day-this helps focus on all of the blessings your departed loved one added to your life.
- Try a New Hobby You can try painting, playing an instrument, writing music or poems, assembling a scrapbook, or engaging in any other creative endeavor that could express your love for the one who has departed.
- Keep a Schedule Maintaining a healthy routine, including regular sleep, exercise, proper hydration and healthy eating habits are crucial to maintaining your health as you are grieving.
- Keep Busy This may be the perfect time to focus on house chores, lawn care, and that often-promised, usually neglected process of decluttering your home. Getting out of one's own self and finding ways to help others can be a healthy way to handle change and process grief.
We’re all struggling during this health crisis, but people mourning the deaths of their loved ones are being hit with a double dose of difficult.
Wading through these unchartered waters, it is important that we remember we are not alone and
we will make it through to the other side.