Coping during COVID-19 isolation after the loss of a loved one

Mary Dowcett, LCFL Grief Care Counselor, provides ways for those who have recently lost a loved one to cope during isolation due to COVID-19.

Hello, my name is Mary Dowcett. I’m a grief counselor at Lower Cape Fear LifeCare. And, I would like to share with you three things about coping with isolation due to COVID 19.

This is a particular challenge for grievers who are being told to stay home. Limiting your activities with other people may intensify feelings of sadness.

Please, number one, have compassion for yourself. Think of yourself with the compassion that you would bring to a young child who’s come to you with a fresh wound.

However, you feel right now is perfect. Please allow those feelings.

Number two, identify healthy practices that soothe and comfort you and engage with those throughout this period. This is personal and different for everyone. Some examples might be wearing an article of your loved one’s clothing. Wrapping up so it feels comforting.

You might pet an animal, a dog or a cat. Listen to music you enjoy. Dining on a favorite food. Notice your healthy habits and be aware of any unhealthy habits and limit them. Maybe even consider telling someone.

Three, please connect with others. Reach out over the phone, the internet, or across the fence with distancing in your neighborhood. If you are a person of faith, use your faith. Call on your church, your minister, or your neighbors.

Also designate a safe person. Someone who is a good listener and is positive. Ask if they can tolerate your tears, fears and anger. This is the category my mother called having “someone you can let your hair down with.” I realize that that person may be the one who died and that person is irreplaceable. Still, I’m asking you to look around, look around your circle. You may find a helper on the path. There may be someone else who has had a loss who understands you.

So please, have compassion for yourself. Be loving. You are perfect.

Comfort yourself as you would a young child. Connect with others. Tell someone what you’re going through. Ask for help if you need it. You have what you need to get through this.

Please know that you are not alone.

Stay safe and well.

Thank you for listening