Grief and Loss During COVID-19

The change we’re experiencing due to COVID-19 is referred to as a change in our “assumptive world.”

Our assumptive world is what we are used to and assume will be our reality for the foreseeable future. While we grieve and mourn the loss of our assumptive world, we will experience the symptoms of grief. Eventually, we adjust to our new world by integrating the change into our lives and reorganizing our lives accordingly.

Understanding Grief and Loss

There are a few key terms to understand when we talk about grief and loss:

Loss is any event that changes the way things have been – the world a person is used to is suddenly and often dramatically different. The significance and meaning of the loss is measured by each person experiencing the loss.

Grief is the physical, emotional, somatic, cognitive, and spiritual response to actual or threatened loss of a person, place, or thing to which we are emotionally attached.

Some of the immediate (or acute) symptoms of grief can include:

  • emotional numbness
  • disorientation
  • separation anxiety
  • agitation
  • sleep and appetite disturbance
  • headaches and stomach aches
  • frequent waves of grief pangs
  • urge to search

These symptoms can last a few days to several months. You can learn about the symptoms and stages of grief, social needs of mourners, factors which make a person likely to experience complicated grief, grief therapy, and more in this document. It is important to face our unique grieving and mourning process as this ultimately enhances our overall well-being.

How do we deal with grief and loss?

People experiencing grief and loss and supporting those who are experiencing it should remember that:

  • Grief lasts longer and is more painful than most people expect.
  • There is no right way or wrong way to grieve — just your way.
  • The least helpful thing for grieving people is other people telling
    them how they should be doing things.
  • The most helpful thing for grieving people is to be able to
    process their thoughts and feelings (through things like talking, writing, composing, creating, etc.).
  • “Good” grief doesn’t mean forgetting, it means remembering and
    integrating the loss into our life and reorganizing our life
    accordingly.
  • Sometimes the people we think should help us simply can’t.
  • People are fundamentally resilient. They can and they will
    survive their loss.

We have a few additional resources that can help with understanding grief and loss:

If you need help and want to access services with the Mental Health Center of Denver, please reach out to us through our Access Center. We are offering services by phone and video call.