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Bereavement for the 'COVID Generation'

Everybody that has suffered a bereavement, and the subsequent grief that follows it, has a unique experience. Everything you have ever said or done, every interaction or event in your life up to that moment has an impact on how you will react and therefore, no two people will be the same.

It is not possible for two people to have an identical reaction to their respective loss, so if it happens to you, nobody truly 'knows how you feel'.

Some people may experience a similar loss and think they know what you're going through.

But they don't.

They know what THEY felt like. They just assume that you are having the same experience and, therefore, would benefit from their inside knowledge on how to move on. (Incidentally, I prefer the term 'move forward').

It can help some people to realise that because everyone's experience of grief is different, that means there are no rules. You do not have to feel a certain way after a certain amount of time has passed.

But what about the impact of Coronavirus or COVID-19?

At the time of writing, over 45000 people the UK alone have been confirmed as dying from the virus. Around 75% of these took place in hospital. I have a very personal insight into what people may experience if a loved one dies of COVID while in hospital. Relatives have very little or no opportunity to spend time with the person or say important goodbyes. Subsequent care for the deceased and funeral arrangements are severely restricted. This can lead to yet more important elements of the grieving process being denied to those left behind who are trying to come to terms with the loss.

As I said before, grief and loss are a totally unique experience for each individual and it appears that this pandemic has just made it tougher. Many people, after a bereavement, will experience emotions like guilt, anger, hopelessness, disbelief or denial. To be forced to handle your grief in the 'unprecedented situation' we find ourselves in just makes it even more unique. Not only is the grief hard to handle, it occurred amid times we were entirely unprepared for.

So how do you get through it?

I wish there were a simple answer that fit everyone's circumstances and made all the pain go away.

As a practitioner of Person Centred Therapy I truly believe that talking about the loss and the grief you're experiencing can go a long way to helping you through a period of bereavement. In my opinion it is the healthiest option, as opposed to hiding the emotions and keeping them suppressed.

Share your grief with others. Take people up on their offers of support. If you are experiencing strong emotions try to accept them. They are yours. Remember, there are no rules so you can't be doing it wrong.

Time does heal for most people, but there is nothing wrong in getting the help you need during that time.

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