For those who have lost a loved one, grief is heartbreaking because it wracks your mind, body, and soul. You are at a higher level of energy and plummet to the lowest level of energy where negative emotions slap you back and forth. You cannot tell anyone who is in the beginning stages of grief that they will survive it, but if they allow themselves to work through and acknowledge their feelings, grief softens. Grief never goes away yet becomes a part of our story and growth.
What is difficult with losing a loved one because of COVID-19? A wide variety of emotions accompany your loss. COVID-19 forced many people to let their loved one die alone, which has left people carrying guilt and an inability to bring closure to their loss.
Any time loss is sudden and unexpected, it makes it harder to integrate the loss and throws us into a fear of the unknown. Am I going to get COVID-19? Are my family and children vulnerable to it? How do I navigate isolation and loneliness? Where is our leadership? Is there going to be enough food in my house? How can I maintain my livelihood, house, and stability? Legitimate questions, but even more difficult to answer when your world turns upside down, and you have suffered a loss.
A second magnified issue with grief and COVID-19 is people’s inability to control their situation. Loneliness, fear, anger, boredom, and helplessness all are part of our COVID-19 experience. The problem is we simultaneously experience these feelings. Stress becomes the response to the inability to control a situation. Stress causes physical, mental, and spiritual consequences. As a consulting hypnotist the past year, I have privileged us to help many people recognize and relieve stress because of COVID-19.
Have you had days when you felt out of sorts in the last year, yet could not define what was wrong with you? You could have been tapping into collective grief. This is grief energy the universe is experiencing. Every action, every feeling, every reaction has an energetic impact on our universe, whether we have an awareness of it. Many people are collectively going through an experience which magnifies the energy of the experience. “Sensitive” people tap into the energy of grief inadvertently.
At the date of this writing, 500,000 people have lost their lives because of COVID-19. The result is a monumental grief producing experience. Viktor E. Frankl tells us, “When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
What can we learn from this experience? How can we change? Gratitude, compassion, selflessness are all positive energy emotions that can lift us up and move us forward. Storytelling and community are important in navigating grief. We have been fortunate enough to go through this experience and come out on the other side, now all we must do is choose our response to our experience.