It has been a year of horrible loss. More Americans have died of the Covid-19 pandemic than died in any of our wars, and more than in many of those wars combined. Last week we passed the 4,500-deaths-in-a-single-day mark. It’s sobering when you hear it on the news, but the numbers remain just that—numbers—until one of them is someone you know, someone you love. That changes everything. How do you cope when someone you love dies?
- Take care of yourself. This is a dangerous time for you; many people experience a temporary “cognitive slippage,” meaning that our minds aren’t working as well as usual; and none of us pays enough attention to eating, sleeping, driving, crossing streets.
- Keep God with you. Keeping rosary beads in your pocket may be helpful. That immediate, physical touchstone recalls your mind and heart to God even when feelings of grief and loss are overwhelming. It’s a way of staying grounded in what matters.
- Celebrate life. Plant a flower, adopt a pet, volunteer some time, make a donation to hospice care. In other words, do something positive. Death feels negative; it’s up to us to turn it around and remember what it really is: a passageway into eternity.
The isolation imposed on us by the pandemic multiplies our normal feelings of isolation around a death. It’s important to remember that our loved one is not alone… and neither are we!