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How can I grieve effectively when I didn't get a chance due to COVID-19?

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Therapist Answer and Transcription

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Hey, I’m Dr. Kevin Skinner. Thank you for taking time to ask your question here on brighter mornings. Your question is how can I grieve effectively when I didn’t get a chance to due to COVID-19? Man, I’ll tell you, this is one of those questions that we’re getting more and more of because COVID-19 has made it so we can’t go visit parents. We can’t go into care centers hospitals and it is a very common question. So I’m so grateful that you asked this question and let me just give you three or four ideas that I recommend to my clients when they struggle with that in opportunity to say goodbye, whether that’s COVID related or not.

So the first thing that I tell my clients is to consider this phase of loss as a time to grieve. And that often means that we want to give the loss meaning and openly talk about in your own writing or allow to somebody, a friend, a loved one, how you felt about your loved one. So concept number one is we want to make sure that we give me meaning to this loss and that could be done through writing or talking it out.

Number two, as you go through that, writing or talking about what would you want to have done finish in your mind, what you wish you could have done, but was not able to, because of COVID-19. What would I want to have said, what would have, I want to have done as a way to show my appreciation or love or gratitude for the life of that loved one.

The third part, now that you’ve given it a voice you’ve done, some of them said some of the things you’ve wanted to say is take time to specifically focus on the hurt and the loss that you have had. And what that might sound is I felt like I didn’t get to say goodbye. And I feel what give a language to your hurt, to your feelings and what really, what that means is at this point, you might have had experiences and emotions that make you overwhelmingly sad.

Give those feelings a voice. In other words, we’re going to now pay attention to your emotions, loss, sorrow, maybe anger. They too need an expression.

So now we’re going to turn our attention to the emotions you’ve been writing. You’ve been talking, I’ve been doing things to that you would like to have said, but now we’re going to pay attention to your emotions. What are the deeper wounds in our hurts that you’re feeling?

And finally, the fourth part. Anytime we grieve. It’s important that we don’t judge what we feel or think or what your, or how even how your body’s responding. Some people lose weight. Some people get eat more to for comfort because they feel that, that loss.

So I’m going to ask you at this point to, to listen to your body. And really get attuned to how your body’s feeling with it loss. Sometimes we have habits of picking up a phone or sending them email or whatever to the person who is lost. I would suggest that maybe you continue to write or call in your mind. What would you say in that phone call?

Now my fifth and final point, I guess I had one more because of loss. I invite you to consider having a sit down conversation, imagine that your loved one was sitting down in a chair right next to you. I want you to imagine that with me right now. I want you to just to feel their presence and because you know them, what would they say? What would you want to say? I’d like you to have that imaginary conversation as if it’s happening. What you come to realize is even though they’re gone, they’re still present because your memories with them and because you know them well enough, they will feel they will sense and you will feel and sense what that conversation actually would have been if they were still alive.

These are just some strategies to help you be authentic and real. Through the grieving process.

Thank you for asking this important question and I hope it helps you and many others as they go through this difficult time. May you be blessed?

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