This week is Dying Matters Week. We had been planning to run some ‘Death Cafes’ to get people together over a cuppa to talk about death in our society and about grief, but sadly these events have been cancelled due to government restrictions. So instead, we outline some ideas here about how to cope with grief through these difficult times, and how to gain the support that you might need.
Being bereaved can sometimes feel isolating, and the current lockdown conditions are adding an extra layer of complexity to an already challenging time – especially in cases where relatives are unable to say goodbye to their loved ones in the way that they would have liked. The impact of social distancing and shielding restrictions may create further distress. Our Bereavement Coordinator Jenny Hall, shares a few thoughts on dealing with grief during lockdown:
- Everyone deals with grief in different ways – there is no right or wrong way and we have to recognise that we need to be kind to ourselves during these extraordinary times.
- Often it helps to talk about your grief and the person you’ve lost – keep in touch with family and friends by phone, video call, or if social distancing allows, in person.
- Try to connect with loved ones around you as much as possible – you can share text messages, Whatsapp messages, emails, Facebook posts etc. Some people gain significant amounts of comfort from these interactions because they provide a way of grieving together while being apart.
- Consider memorial activities to remember the person you’ve lost – for example, with children you could spend time drawing pictures of the person who is gone, or you could make a memory box and fill it with keepsakes and mementos.
- Try to keep some routine in your life, and make time for gentle exercise and other hobbies or activities that you enjoy.
- There will be ups and downs – good days and bad days – and these are a normal part of the grieving process we go through when we lose someone we love.
- It’s not a sign of weakness to need ask for help if you need it – please don’t be afraid to ask for support from friends and loved ones, or from organisations that are there to help.
If you would like some support following the death of a loved one who was known to Rowcroft at the time of their death, please contact the Bereavement Service on 01803 217403. Leave a message on our 24-hour answer service and we will return your call as soon as possible.
If you have lost a loved one due to COVID-19 and they weren’t known to Rowcroft, you can call the Torbay and South Devon COVID-19 Emotional Wellbeing Helpline on 01803 217433. This is a new service – staffed by a team at Rowcroft on behalf of a wider alliance – offering up to an hour of supportive listening and signposting to further information/support if required. Please leave a message and the team will make contact within two to three working days.