We asked some of our bereaved parents and sibling Compassionate Friends members to share how they have been coping during the lock down and distancing restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. We hope you will find some aspects you can relate to - to know you are not alone - and maybe discover some tips for yourself in managing this period of isolation. Thank you to Maria, Mary, Clare, Claire and Abi for sharing their thoughts with us.
It’s fair to say my emotions have been all over the place over the past couple of months. Before the UK went into Lockdown, my anxiety was very very high – I could feel this impending doom coming but was totally out of control to do anything about it. That feeling took me right back to the day Annaliese died, the worst day of my life. All the media coverage and chatter amongst people I knew was about infections, hospitals, death and it was pushing against all the triggers that I have now. Every time I turned the radio on, the tv on, looked at social media – it was there. I felt panicked, I was worried about it all, I didn’t know what to do…
by Claire Hammond
Working as a full-time teaching assistant in a primary school, I can honestly say that when news of schools closing came due to the pandemic, I was relieved. Not only for the safety of everybody in school, but also for my own sanity.
by Abi May
For people who are grieving, the quiet hours of the night are often a struggle. Falling asleep might be hard; waking up in the early hours is not uncommon.
Whether there is someone sleeping beside us or not, it is a solitary time. Our thoughts seem louder and there is little to distract us from them. This can be a hazardous time, as our mind is filled with pictures of what happened to our loved one, of the saddest and most difficult moments. There is little to take our mind on other paths; our sad, anxious or hopeless thoughts loom larger and larger.
No wonder that tiredness is such a common feature of grief. It may be so long before we have a good night’s rest again.
For some people the lockdown – self isolation during the pandemic – is having a similar effect.
For me, the lockdown isn’t isolation. Isolation is what I experienced in the days after my 36-year-old brother took his life. I was staying with my parents; the three of us united by a grief deeper than even our most loving relatives could understand. In an atmosphere thick with silence and despair, books were my only escape.
I feel that the last month have been so triggering and bringing up a lot of old feelings in early grief. We have lost so much. Loss of connection. Loss of normality. Loss of control. Loss of predictability. Loss of understanding. Loss of safety. Loss of the future we imagined. Which has already happened to us who have lost our person; it brings back all those early feels for me again.
Each year thousands of parents suffer the loss of a son or a daughter. Please help us to support families in their time of greatest need.