Social Distancing and Grief: Like Oil and Water

During the chaos of the coronavirus pandemic, take a moment to consider those who have recently suffered a loss, of any kind, and how they may be affected by isolation and social-distancing.

To some, quarantine or social distancing means bunkering down with their family and riding out this mess together.

To others… the grieving, the broken-hearted… it means taking away our escape from the overwhelming silence of our own home. It means forcing us to face these quiet and lonely nights, missing our loved ones even more. To some it is a reminder of just how alone we can really feel in this world at times. For those struggling with their mental health as it is, this may end up being much harder than just avoiding illness.

This could be a true testament to strength for those grieving.

On nights that I’m feeling especially lonely and panicked, I drive up to the bar for a beer and some music and to be around people. That option has been taken away.

Some days where the emotions are too much to handle, I run off to the gym to work out those frustrations. This has also been taken away.

And what terrifies me about this the most is how quickly we, as a society, have fallen habit to this divide. While I understand the need for social-distancing, we’ve lost all common courtesy. Nobody is holding doors for each other, people are putting their heads down as they walk past, hands extended upon first meeting are looked at with confusion. This is so disheartening for those of us who rely on that human interaction to bring a little light on the dark days.

We’ve started living in a world where human touch is looked at as a dangerous thing. Hospitals are putting restrictions on visitors, children aren’t in schools, and non-essential workplaces are shut down.

The core of our culture has been affected. Sporting events are cancelled, parks are closed, even fishing season has been postponed. Guys, they are closing the outdoors! I didn’t even know they could do that!

I’m not undermining this pandemic in any way, shape or form. I completely understand the need for social-distancing and extra precaution right now, and as a first responder, I am preparing myself in every way possible to handle this safely. I am just bringing attention to the complicated emotions this brings to groups that are struggling emotionally. This could cause unimaginable anxiety and depression for some.

Social distancing is the exact opposite of everything they tell you to do during a period of hardship. They tell you to go out and enjoy yourself, to surround yourself with supportive people, to exercise and socialize. Well now, all of those distractions that we have to keep us moving forward have been postponed indefinitely because of the pandemic. Us grievers are sort of “in limbo” right now, praying for something positive to happen and riding out these anxiety-filled nights and very confusing and numb days.

The concept of “isolation” is pretty terrifying as it is, but I think it’s magnified when grieving or struggling with depression. I’m just getting used to living alone again, and now I’m facing a time where I can’t just take myself out to dinner or wander around a mall when I’m feeling down and stuck in my own head.

Keep this in mind while you’re at home with your families. Practice gratitude when your kids are making you want to pull your hair out and you are just dying to get some peace and quiet. Send a little extra love to those who are hurting or in need of a little more support right now. This is a scary time for all, the best thing we can do is be there for each other, even if this is just by a text or phone call.

A smile as you walk past someone is not going to spread the virus. Remember to keep your chin up and show your support for each other, it’s us against the problem, not us against each other.

Love to you all. Stay healthy and safe out there.

Published by Merely Sarah

Navigating through life and finding the beauty through the pain. Spreading positivity and light where there's darkness. Wanderlust and adventurous... grabbing life by the balls and making the most of every situation. I hope to resonate with someone else out there, one who hurts every single day, but pushes through and keeps their light shining. We need each other, because sometimes this life is exhausting and we need to keep pushing each other to do big things and to let our voices be heard. You are needed. You are valued. You are fucking BEAUTIFUL.

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