Mental Health / My life's journey / The journey continues...

Grief in the midst of a pandemic

This topic was unplanned but after losing a close family member a week ago, I thought I should share my experience.

We are living in a moment where some of us have to go through huge changes in our lives alone. Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, some have celebrated their graduations, birthdays, a new job, the arrival of their baby, etc., alone or without their larger circle of family and friends. Likewise, some have had to grieve the loss of a loved one alone because of travel restrictions within and across the borders.

A week ago, this was my predicament. On a Thursday morning, I received news that my aunt had passed on. I can’t even explain what I felt in that moment but I held it together as I always do. A few hours later, I realised that I was alone, I didn’t have to be strong for anyone and I had to face this alone. I had to make a choice to let myself grieve and walk through that valley of pain.

You see, when you’re at a funeral, there’s this support you get from people around you and you know you’re not alone. But here I was, all alone, with noone to turn to and hug, with noone to sing with to lift up our spirits. I was just sitting in the dark, crying till I had a headache.

I tried to sleep but I spent most of the night awake. I probably managed to drift into a short nap a little after 5am. The past few days were horrible but it doesn’t come without lessons. Here’s what I learnt:

1. Acknowledge your feelings

Whether it is joy or sorrow, acknowledge it. On Friday, I got to a point where I said to myself, “Oh, this is how I feel pain”. I always thought I had to shed some tears whenever I felt pain but realised for me it wasn’t just tears. It made me look back to a time when I felt the same amount of pain. I remember, I kept asking God, why can’t I just cry over this and move on yet I didn’t know I was grieving in my own way.

2. Take time

Don’t rush yourself to get better because you want the pain to go. Go through the motions, feel the pain and release it. I am grateful for this realisation because it also helped me understand some of my past experiences and gave me insight into how best to deal with experiences that cause me such grief.

3. It gets better

It can only can get better if you let yourself walk through the whole process. When I woke up on Day 3, I felt better. My body had released most of the intense pain and tension it was holding. I could eat better, I could sleep and I could start doing the things that I had not been able to do the past two days.

I had to be real with myself and grieve but I also had to make sure I pick myself up lest I plunge into a pool of depression. I know some of you have lost loved ones, lost jobs or income. Be careful to deal with those experiences with hope that it will get better. Talk to a friend, talk to a counselor. Don’t let yourself drift into depression because in the times we’re in now, it’s so easy to end up in that state.

Don’t wait to see light at the end of the tunnel, look for it in the tunnel. The Holy Spirit is there with you, to comfort you. Let him embrace you.

Love and light to you all! Dream of brighter days.

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I am a weird and wonderful young lady who loves beautiful things. I love writing because as Anne Frank puts it, "Paper is more patient than people".

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