Over the course of the past year, you’ve likely experienced some form of grief. Whether you’ve lost someone close to you, your job, your routine, or the person you were before you contracted the virus, it’s completely understandable to be struggling right now.
I’ve gotten to know grief well, as I lost my father in March 2020. The cause of his death was heart failure, but I have my suspicions that COVID-19 may have sped up the process. I will never know for sure because testing was not yet available.
Like many people, I became obsessed with the “why?” Why did this have to happen? Could I have done something to prevent it? I ended up torturing myself over a circumstance that I truly had no control over.
For me, it’s been important to focus on what I can control. I am only in control of myself, how I react, how I respond, and how I cope with these types of complicated feelings.
What I tell my clients struggling with grief
As a Sanvello therapist, I regularly work with clients who have lost someone or something and they all grieve differently because it is an intensely personal experience. No matter if they’re expressing feelings openly or moving through a state of numbness, my job is to remind them to take care of themselves.
Every day will present itself with new challenges and new emotions, so paying close attention to your changing needs is essential. If you have a daily routine, keep it as close to normal as possible. If you did not have a routine before, try to develop one. Even if it’s just the little things, consistency helps.
My COVID experience
A week after my father’s death, I began to feel sluggish and noticed that my limbs hurt. I tested positive for COVID-19 in late March 2020. Every time I thought I was getting better, the virus pulled me back down. I developed pneumonia and had multiple trips to urgent care and the emergency room.
Thankfully I recovered, but the residual side effects have been brutal. I often find myself forgetting words or having trouble getting out of bed because the fatigue is overwhelming. I’ve been left to grieve who I was pre-COVID.
After doing quite a bit of work to heal both physically and emotionally, I realize that it doesn’t serve me to linger on who I used to be. I am this new version of myself and I can grieve the losses, but I cannot let it take over my life today.
Taking care of myself through this process means taking naps when I feel exhausted, drinking plenty of fluids, setting boundaries, knowing my limits, and enlisting Post-It notes to help me remember small details.
Grief hurts, but it is not the end. No matter the losses you’ve experienced, it does not have to define you. As I remind my clients, and myself, you are stronger than you know and you are allowed to work towards moving forward. You deserve a life full of joy. It can take time and effort to get there, but we’re here to give you support along the way.
Looking to connect with others experiencing grief? Visit our Sanvello Grief Community.
By Giacomo Lucchetti, LCSW
Giacomo is a clinical social worker, providing psychotherapy and social services to people of all ages. When he’s not seeing clients, he enjoys watching history documentaries, keeping up with the latest technology, and spending time with his family and three rescue dogs.