On Sunday June 6 my grandmother who was 102, passed away peacefully around 5.00 p.m. Singapore time. She would be counted among the statistics for the day, in terms of the Covid death count.
I say “peacefully” but truly, I have no real idea. I am in Singapore and she was in Malaysia. None of us, not me, nor my brothers, sister and cousins and not even her only living child, my mother, could be by her bedside. This is one of the things that COVID has robbed from
Without the rituals of being by the bedside of our loved ones, to hold their hands, to soothe them with words of reassurance is tough on those left behind. You add to that the fact that we cannot be together to mourn, even as we celebrate a life, no funerals to attend, no hugs to give each other for comfort due to restrictions with crowd size, travel and hospital visits – is leaving many of us feeling even more isolated.
Megan Sutton, a counsellor, in an article that appeared in the UK Good Housekeeping, shared some of her thoughts “When you’re bereaved and grieving, your life is topsy turvy. But at the moment, the rest of your life is, too. Normally when something in our life is upset, there are other parts of it that are still the same”.
We all grieve differently. To me her advice made sense, and as I reflect, I know this is what has helped me:
1. Talking about my grandma. Sharing her amazing story to anyone that will listen to me has been cathartic.
o I have been trying to do this to camera, but not yet managed as I start crying every time. One day you will hear it. Just not yet.
2.Recognising that I am indeed grieving and it’s not just about losing my Amama (what I call my gran) but I am grieving so many others I have lost this past year especially three dear friends, my dad’s brother, my mum’s sister to name a few. This most recent one has just been that one too many
o Stating that I am grieving and saying “no” and putting a pause on some things has really helped. Yes even not being on Linkedin for 2 weeks.
3.Having close friends and relatives come together via Zoom and join my mum as she observed 7 days of mourning. In keeping with our faith – created a sense of shared experience and a communal bond that my mum and I found comforting
o On the last evening we added a “Memorial’ element to it. People were invited to share their memories of her and what she meant to them. It was beautiful. And there was some closure.
There are many strategies that can help and there are online experts that can too. Be sure to ask or look for them if you are grieving.
Your friends are so ready to be there for you so if you need to – ask them to be your support.