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Grief, Loss & Covid

Collectively we have lost so much to Covid. Naturally, loss of life is the first thing we think of when we consider the effects of the pandemic. But what about the other losses?

We have a roadmap for grieving that has been well documented in the seven stages of grief. But these stages refer to the loss of something tangible, specifically someone we love. This kind of grief is unique and subjective based on your relationship with that person.

During this global pandemic, a collective sense of grief has emerged, even if you are not fully aware of what that means.

The author and expert on grief and loss, David Kessler, says that we are grieving on macro and micro levels. On the macro level, meaning on a large-scale social plane, we are dealing with the loss of routine, normality, economic uncertainty, loss of connection to others and so on. In addition, we feel the enormity of the changing world, and our sense of safety has been compromised. The macro-level of grief is complicated because it was unexpected, and there is no clear endpoint. Things have permanently changed with no directive on how this will pan out. As a result, there is a palpable sense of irreversibility. We are reminded every day that life is unpredictable and uncertain.

Micro-level grief is a personal loss to you, and the most obvious example of this is when a loved one dies. But we are experiencing micro-losses every day of which you may not even be aware. Lost time, for example. We have lost two years of living freely. We have lost the enjoyment of comfortably going to a restaurant, the gym or cinema. We have lost a sense of hope for our futures. Exams were cancelled, and aspirations of what we want from life have been distorted.

There is no disputing that Covid-19 has changed our lives immeasurably. However, it is gratifying to see that, as always, we humans have a way of adapting. Of course, we must grieve what we have lost, but it is equally important to find meaning and hope in our adaptability. Covid has been a test like no other, and the positive for me is that we have rediscovered the basic tenets of humankind, self-care and care of others. Long may that continue.


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