The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. – Psalm 18:2
As I write this, over 380,000 people have died of COVID-19 and that number is rising by the day. For many of us, we know someone who has died or has heard of people who have died. As such, so many of us are grieving from the loss of a family member or friend and have found this process more difficult with social distancing restrictions. From not being able to properly say our goodbyes to loved ones to not being able to attend funerals to honor their lives with friends and family.
Grief is a difficult and painful experience. It is a season that we all must go through at some point in our lives. Even in these difficult times, it’s important that you allow yourself to grieve. Taking this time will give you more peace and stability in the wrong run. Asking your job for days off or switching shifts to give yourself space and time to process and grieve privately is a start.
Know the difference between grief and depression. While grief looks different for everyone, those who grief remain connected to others. Grief and depression can include intense sadness, fatigue, sleep and appetite disturbances, low energy, loss of pleasure, and difficulty concentrating. The difference is that with depression, a connection with others, and the ability to experience even brief periods of pleasure are generally missing. If you find yourself dealing with depression, seek help by contacting a therapist. If you are in a crisis and need immediate help, contact the Crisis Text Line.
Remember that there is no right way to grief. Seek support from family and friends and be kind to yourself. Know that there will be days when you are triggered by a memory or thought that can cause intense grief and be okay with that. There is no timeline or fast track to grief and do not set one for yourself.
Find peace in those small moments of joy. Grief can sometimes bring memories that make you burst into laughter. Do not feel guilty about taking time to care for yourself, to take a pause from everyday expectations, and to let others know that you need the time to grieve. Find ways to celebrate small victories in the midst of grief –from getting your favorite takeout, to watching your favorite show, or taking a long bath.
Strengthen your relationship with God. Prayer in the midst of grief is a powerful healing tool and reminder that God is always with us.