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Grieving in isolation - stories from bereaved parents and siblings

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.


The New Normal. Where have we heard that before?

by Maria Ahern

It’s funny how people adopt phrases as if they are new and original isn’t it. People keep talking about the New Normal as if it is an original concept. They’ve hi-jacked our vocabulary! And our feelings! Have you noticed the parallels between the situation that the world is living in currently, and the world that you and I have been occupying for some time? Grief?...

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Grief in Isolation

by Mary Hartley

After 16 years I’d been coping pretty well with my grief; it never goes away but it’s been a lot gentler and easier and my day to day life has been good. I’d say I’m generally a happy and upbeat sort of person. What I hadn’t realised was just how much being busy, getting out and about, meeting up with lots of people for meals and outings, travelling, going to London to run the library and looking after my granddaughters, was enabling me to cope with my grief for Claire.

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Grief in Isolation

by Clare

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…

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Grief in Isolation

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.

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Coping with our grief thoughts during lockdown

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.

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Thank you to Anmika, Catherine and Kyla - all bereaved siblings - for sharing their thoughts with us below.

Grief in the Time of Corona

by Anmika Salter

Yesterday, my brother and I wondered what our sister would make of all of this. We thought she’d probably respond to the crisis with her usual dramatic catastrophe: worry about our (not even that old) Dad, express deep concern for society, tell us off for meeting to walk in the park when we’re from different households. She’d probably also be enjoying having a break from the job she might have had by then: to lie on the sofa and do what she loved most, watching box sets and eating ice cream out the tub. Maybe she’d be baking all day, piling the Covid-pounds onto our waists, tums and bums, an explanation for the shortage of plain flour and caster sugar across the nation.

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A Window to Another World

by Catherine

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.

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We Have Lost So Much

By Kyla Preston

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.

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