Grieving things that have been canceled or postponed | Mental Wellness
For many of us, life has practically changed overnight.
As a result of COVID-19, the loss that we, as a nation and globally, are experiencing has been sudden, ambiguous and traumatic. Many of us have felt blindsided by the enormity of this pandemic and the layers of loss that accompany it.
Weddings, childcare, visiting loved ones, celebrating religious traditions and holidays, employment, medical operations and mental health resources—these are just some examples of what has been postponed or even canceled due to COVID-19.
Feeling disappointed about your losses and the plans that have changed is not selfish, it is valid. The grief you are experiencing deserves acknowledgment.
Go through the stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and tolerance. Give yourself permission to feel the way you do and experience your emotions. Remind yourself that healing is not linear and the stages of grief may not happen in a particular order. It is perfectly normal for your emotions to come in waves.
Embrace the concept of both/and.
Both/and means that we can experience two things at once; it is the idea that more than one emotion can exist at the same time. It may seem selfish and insensitive to be disappointed that your vacation is being postponed when people are dying. Try to remember that one emotion does not negate another.
Do not compare your grief and losses to those around you. When it comes to pain and suffering, there is no hierarchy, as loss is not a contest. Allow yourself and others to express concern and other emotions, openly and without judgment.
Remember: These are unprecedented times.
We have heard the term “unprecedented” used to describe this pandemic. The newness of this is even included in the name, ‘Novel’ Coronavirus – 19. This means there is no “right” way to cope. Not having a protocol to follow can be anxiety provoking, but it can also be seen as an opportunity to discover the tools and techniques that help you cope during a time of distress.
Stay in the present.
Anticipatory grief is what we experience when we are uncertain about what the future holds. Do what you can to stay grounded and mindful of where you are now. This can be done using grounding techniques (e.g. name 5 things you see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.)