Losing a Child During the COVID-19 Pandemic
By Lara Gillham, Jackson’s Mom
Grieving the loss of your child during COVID-19 is hard enough, but I can’t imagine losing my child during the pandemic. My heart sincerely goes out to all the parents, grandparents, and siblings who have lost someone during this awful pandemic.
Friends, family, and co-workers often surround you with love and support in the immediate time after losing your child. People may offer to help you with errands or tasks, funeral planning, make you meals, watch your other children, or just sit with you. However, when COVID-19 hit, it brought additional complexities to the grieving process. Often, parents already feel isolated after the death of their child, but many parents are finding the isolation even more difficult during the pandemic. In the time of COVID-19, there are few hugs, funerals are smaller, friends are not dropping by to make you a meal or check in on you, there are no family members to occupy your other children, and friends and family are not allowed to check on you or your child in the hospital or to say goodbye to them. This can leave the parents feeling like they are lacking a support system or leave them overwhelmed with handling everything on their own.
If you are a friend, family member, or co-worker of a bereaved parent, grandparent, or sibling during this pandemic, I encourage you to reach out to them to see how they are doing. See if there is anything you can do for them. Maybe they’d like a video chat? Maybe they could use a home-cooked meal? Maybe you are comfortable coming over with a mask on to watch their other children or clean for them? Maybe you can send them a gift card for food or drop groceries on their doorstep. Or at the very least, simply send them a text letting them know that you are thinking about them and share one or two of your favorite memories of their child with them. You can even send them photos or videos you may have of the child. You don’t have to be physically present to be a good support system.
If you are a parent who lost a child and people are not offering to do these things, ask! It’s ok to ask for help, and often people are so unsure of what to do or say that they default to doing nothing. Sometimes we as bereaved parents have to let them know what we need.
If you have lost a child during the COVID-19 pandemic (or any time) and you feel like you are lacking a support system, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at Just Enduring. We are here to help you in any way we can.