The death of a loved one is difficult at the best of times; waiting for a friend or family member to die during a pandemic brings an added level of grief, stress and complexity to one of life’s greatest challenges.
An online source says that “In 2019, there were 287,725 deaths reported in Canada.” One can expect the numbers for 2020 to be somewhat similar. That means that today, many people will die. Their cause of death may be any one of the many usual things which take down Canadians normally, but presently, the Corona virus is impacting many dying people, regardless of their actual cause of death.
Many nursing homes and hospitals are observing strict isolation measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. The unfortunate side-effect of these strategies is that many patients are now dying without being able to see their loved ones for a final farewell.
In an upcoming article we will look at how the virus is impacting local families who have loved ones hospitalized or in extended care facilities, and what they are doing to cope with the situation.
If you are one of those caught in the difficult situation of being separated from a friend or family member during the pandemic, here are a few thoughts that might help you cope with the situation.
1. Know that your loved one probably is not truly alone. Those in care homes and hospitals are surrounded by caregivers who are trained to help ease the pain and worry associated with dying. While you may wish to be the one who could be there, you might find some comfort knowing that at least a nurse, doctor or other healthcare provider is there for the dying. Many of these people are especially gifted at helping the dying find peace in their final moments.
2. Know that you are also not alone. While you may be separated from your family and unable to visit them, your situation is not unique. Many families around the world have lost loved ones in recent weeks and have been unable to visit them. The suffering you are experiencing is one that is shared by millions of people. Remembering this point may help to give some context to the circumstances in which you find yourself.
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