The following column was submitted to PrinceGeorgeMatters from Donna Flood, Executive Director of the Prince George Hospice Society.
How do we grieve when our ways of grieving are taken from us?
Our funerals, celebrations of life and gatherings are gone for now. They have all been put on hold. We adapt by doing video conferencing but there is something healing about being in the same room with people who love your person. There is an energy in togetherness that is powerful. The love in the room is felt.
And so, we wait for a time when we can gather and in the waiting, we put our grief on hold.
Our places where we grieve, our mom’s house, our brother’s back yard, our dad’s place. The physical spaces are not available now. We have to stay away from the spaces that your person occupied. Our remembering is not as tangible now.
The other side is that we are immersed in the spaces our person occupied and it might become overwhelming. There is no way to distract because we can’t go out and about like we used to. Our grief can become all-encompassing.
Even sitting with a friend and having a cup of tea or coffee, or dare I say a beer. It is in these social encounters that we allow ourselves to grieve.
Then, of course, there are the heartfelt hugs, the holding of hands and seeing someone leaning forward to be closer – to listen. Just to listen. These moments are not available right now.
We grieve in community. We grieve with people crying together, laughing together, being silent and still together.
COVID-19 has interrupted our healing. It has taken away the ways we grieve. This is not a good thing.
Our advice to you is do not put your grief on hold.
Find small ways to acknowledge your loss. Perhaps it is a phone call or a Zoom call. Stay connected to your community in some way.
Perhaps you can create a small ritual. Set aside a window of time each day to simply remember. Somehow, in whatever way works for you find a way to honor your grief. Do not put your grief on hold. Honor your person, honor yourself, honor this important and difficult time in your life.
The Hospice Society is here to help you find a way for you to grieve and heal.
Call us at 250-563-2551 or firstname.lastname@example.org.