Due to the pandemic, usual after-death rituals have been canceled, such as funerals, celebrations of live, and being able to physically be there with your family and friends. During COVID-19, we have found ourselves unable to grieve the way that we used to, and having to create a new way of grieving.
How can we teenagers grieve during the coronavirus? Whether you've lost a parent, guardian, grandparent, friend, or other member of your life, you can use some of these tips for how to grieve during this situation.
Find Ways to Honor Your Loved One
Funerals have been the traditional way that people honor their loved ones. Due to the pandemic, chances are your family isn't going to have a funeral, at least right now, for your loved one. But, that doesn't mean that you can't honor them.
There are many ways that you and your family can still honor your loved one. Sit down with the person you live with and talk to them about how you want to honor the person who died, and what ideas you have. You can talk, and hopefully they will help you make your idea happen.
If the person you live with doesn't want to go along with your plan, or want to do it on your own, that's perfectly fine! There are many ways you can honor your loved one on your own.
If you need ideas about how to honor your loved one, with or without others, check out the list below.
Need ideas for how to honor your loved one?
Using video chat Software like Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet, you can get together with your family during this time.
1. Host a celebration of life or a funeral over video chat.
2. Talk to your family and friends about your loved one. You can even host a Zoom meeting with your loved ones and go around and each tell a story about the person you lost.
3. Start a new tradition. This tradition can involve many people, or just you, and is a way to honor your loved ones. Some families get together on a certain day every year (And you can do that over Zoom!) to honor their loved one, and you can create that tradition over video chat. You can also create a tradition involving just you, where you do something like reading the favorite book of the person who died once a year.
4. Place a reminder of your loved one in your room. Did your loved one have a stuffed animal or other object that they loved? Or, do you have a gift from them that makes you think of them? Place this object somewhere in your room, so when you look at it you can remember your loved one.
5. Participate in a hobby or activity that your person enjoyed. Did the person used to love writing? Try it out! Think of activities that your loved one used to enjoy and try to participate in some. If you don't enjoy the activity, that's fine! Don't feel like you have to continue. Occasionally doing the hobby or thinking about it can be a great way to honor your loved one.
Stay Connected with Your Loved Ones
While it's okay to spend a few days away from people at first, it's important that you still spend time with the people around you while you're grieving. That doesn't mean that you have to be on FaceTime with everyone 24/7; but try to contact your friends at least once or twice a day.
When you first start grieving, you may find yourself overwhelmed with what is going on, and wanting to take a step back. That's perfectly fine during the beginning of your grief. But, how do you tell your friends?
You may text a few friends explaining that you are grieving, but chances are that you may not get to everyone. If you feel comfortable, you can post on social media about what is going on, so all of the people around you know. It is up to you how in depth you get, and you can go into detail about what's going on or simply say "Someone I know has died, so I'm going to be taking a little bit of time away from my phone." This is a simple post that let's everyone know about what's going on.
Find New Coping Methods
After my dad died, I was able to cope with all of my emotions by being around the people I cared about. But, many of us are unable to physically be with the people we love. You don't have to worry, though. We may not be able to use many of our old coping methods, but we can create new ones.
Chances are, you may have created some new coping methods already without realizing it. But, if you need some inspiration, here are a few that you can start using:
1. Schedule Google Meets with your friends and family daily. Even if you think talking to people all of the time is a bit much, chances are you'll find yourself looking forward to the 5:00 meeting with your friends.
Another great thing you can do is video chat your lunch table during the time that you are usually in lunch, and eat while talking to them. This can be a fun way to reconnect with your friends daily.
2. Find a new hobby. Many people are getting into puzzles and adult coloring books now, so why shouldn't you? You can find some great hobbies to fill your time with and help you cope with your grief. For ideas about what hobbies you can take up, check out our Pinterest board for new hobbies you can take up during the coronavirus.
If you want more ideas about coping methods you can take up, check out our article about how to cope during the pandemic.
Do Things that Make You Happy Daily
During the beginning of your grief, it may seem like there is no good left in the world. But, that is far from true. Something that I used to do was read my favorite book after a long day at school after my dad died. It was a nice and relaxing break from everything that was going on in my life.
Come up with a list of things that make you happy, and do at least one thing daily. Preferably, do this thing at the end of the day (if you only do it once), so you can look forward to it most of the day.
Rely on The People You Live With
Everyone may be stressed out right now, but that doesn't mean that you can't rely on your parents or guardians during this time. Chances are, they may be grieving too, and they probably want to be there for you, so why don't you let them?
If you need someone to talk to, some advice, or just someone to be there for you, you can always turn to the people you live with. And, they'll understand why you need them a little bit more right now.
Take Breaks from Overwhelming Things Daily
Depending on how involved you are with the outside world, you may be watching the news every day and feeling stressed and upset. Even if you aren't stressed out by the pandemic, other things may be stressful as well, such as school or your social life.
Right now is a really stressful time, which you probably have had everyone tell you, and that means that you don't have to be on top of your game daily. Take time every day to get away from everything that's stressing out and do things that you enjoy. It may be easy to just ignore your feelings, but it's important that you acknowledge them and take time away from everything daily.
Connect with Other Grieving Teens
Even though you probably aren't able to see other people in person right now, you are still able to connect with other grieving teens and talk about your teenage grief. If you don't know anyone who is grieving, reach out to your school guidance counselor and ask if they have a support group you can reach out to or if they know anyone who is also going through grief that you can contact.
Know that It's Okay to be Upset Right Now
You may be thinking "I can't grieve right now, so many people are going through worse things!" or "I need to be strong," but know that it's okay to be upset. Yes, many people are going through horrible things, but don't allow that to invalidate your pain. Your pain is important as well, and if you need to feel it, feel it.
Right now is a stressful time, so it's also okay if you keep yourself from going into the deep stages of grief right now. Make sure that you allow yourself to feel your sadness, but it's okay to take breaks. Life is stressful right now, and that's okay.
Grieving during the coronavirus is something that many people are going through right now, and it's okay to feel a bit overwhelmed and not know what to do at first. Hopefully after reading this article you will be able to have an easier time grieving during this pandemic.
Read Next: "We're Not Going Back to School."
Written by Natalie Adams, the creator of Teenage Grief Sucks. Photo by Engin Akyurt.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is not meant to be taken as medical advice. The content on the Teenage Grief Sucks website is mostly written by teenagers, and not licensed professionals. If you need medical help, seek assistance from a licensed therapist or, if it is urgent, contact emergency services in your area.