Grieving during the pandemic

The stories of those lost to the coronavirus pandemic are heartbreaking.

Families have not been able to visit loved ones, with only medical staff there to provide what comfort they can in the final moments.

In many parts of the country funerals are also heavily restricted. Some graveside services are being held with just a few in attendance. Other services are being streamed, with only immediate family present. The coronavirus is changing how we say goodbye.

"A lot of people have been struggling with increased anxiety and trauma from not knowing how to start the grief process," says trauma therapist Katrina Reese.

Reese says for many, the denial stage of grief is being prolonged by the absence of rituals like funerals and wakes, which bring comfort and closure.

Social distancing is further complicating the process.

"It's natural for anyone going through the grief process to turn inward and want to bear the burden on their own, but it's so important we talk about those feelings," she explains.

Reese suggests journaling, letter writing or connecting via online platforms to share stories about those we’ve lost, and plan in-person memorials for after the pandemic subsides.