By Skills

Grief can be overwhelming at any time but dealing with grief during COVID 19 I’ve found is somewhat harder to deal with.

I think it has something to do with the fact that you’re not able to see or touch your loved one who passed away and other friends and family for comfort. It’s incredibly isolating and sad to not be able to say goodbye to someone you cared about. A hug or the feeling of being held by people who care means a lot to someone who’s grieving.

Ireland has been home since 2008. It’s only my mom I have here and the rest of our family are approximately 11,240 km away. When my uncle committed suicide in 2009, I couldn’t fly home to attend his funeral as I was looking after my mom’s husband who had dementia at the time. My mom flew home and was able to lay her brother’s body to rest. I cried for him and visited his grave in 2013 on my visit back home. He had issues with his mental health hence life wasn’t as full for him but he was a good man.

The grim reality is that grieving for someone at a distance doesn’t reduce the pain. It doesn’t lessen the impact of loss. It doesn’t change the fact that this person who was alive and well when you had seen them last is now gone and you won’t be able to hear their voice again. You won’t get a chance to hold them, to touch them or to see them smile.

My half brother passed away today due to COVID-19. He was strong. He was a man of faith. My siblings and our other relatives asked for prayers. We all thought he was going to pull through.

How do you keep hope when you don’t believe in God? How do you wish for someone to be better when you have no faith in an Almighty Being who’s supposed to look after humans? I relied on my belief in him as a person and my belief in the hospital staff that looked after him, that he would make it, that he would survive it.

Ricky was a Christian pastor. He affectionately called me “bunso” (youngest) when we’d see each other or when he’d leave me Facebook messages. He sent me messages like “We miss you” or reminded me to “keep posting photos so we’re updated with what’s going on with you”. I joked around with him that he looked like our Daddy Dorito, that he was just as handsome.

When I was young, I felt out of place with that side of the family but Ricky had a way of making me feel at ease, like he was saying, “You’re welcome here” or “You’re one of us”.

How do you deal with grief during Covid 19?

I’ve been sobbing my eyes out on and off since I woke up this morning. I can’t drown my sorrows away with alcohol either because I’m still on my “one year alcohol-free challenge“. I googled how to cope with grief during Covid 19 and this article came up with a list of ways to support yourself when you are grieving, which contains good advice if you’re struggling.

Losing someone has a way of putting things in perspective. You can take precautions and hope for the best that this disease won’t kill you or the people you care about… but there’s no guarantee that you’ll be safe from it.

We take for granted people, time, friendships and other relationships. This loss is a sign that I need to reassess my life and work towards a future where I’d be able to be present and spend quality time with my family here and at home.

As much as I am grateful for technology and how it has made it possible for me to connect with family and friends across the globe through the likes of Instagram, Facebook, Skype and Zoom—sharing moments and being included in their lives’ important milestones is incomparable.

I don’t want to wake up another Tuesday morning to the news of a family member’s death or a good friend’s death and all I’ve got to show for is a few likes on Instagram and on Facebook.

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