Processing grief, extra challenging during COVID-19

Keyana Burries, Editor in Chief

The hospital smell will forever be something that sticks with me. The overwhelming scent of disinfectant with the occasional smell of flowers trying to overpower all the chemicals and sadness. I have spent many years basically living in a hospital because of my grandma’s battle with cancer. 

When I was younger, I did not quite understand what happened to my bubbly upbeat grandma; I slowly watched her diminish in front of my eyes. She started to talk less and sleep more, she never really cracked jokes anymore. All the things we loved to do she could not anymore, I lost my grandma before she even died.  

Losing my grandmother was the hardest thing I had ever had to overcome; my mom did not truly know how to help me since she lost her mom and was grieving too. How does one simply just get over the fact they lost their lifelong best friend, the person that would always be there for them and the one who knew how to make a horrible day turn into an amazing one with just a phone call? 

I was blessed. I got to sit with my grandma and hold her hand. Tell her we would be fine without her, to be able to give her that peace of mind.  

Unfortunately, with this pandemic people are not able to sit with their loved ones and be with them. They are not able to sit there and truly be able to start to understand and accept losing their loved ones. Seeing them and understanding it’s their time to go. Not to mention most aren’t allowed to have services due to COVID-19 restrictions, without my grandmothers service and having everyone be there and mourn the great life that was now gone I do not know how I would have coped. 

COVID-19 has brought a new way of grief, when it is already a challenging thing to deal with. Being young when my grandmother passed everyone constantly reassured me “It gets easier with time I promise,” or “She is in a better place now,” but to me these were always just empty words because it never got easier, and I could not imagine anywhere better for her to be than besides me.  

The biggest misconception about losing a loved one is that one day people will just forget how their heart aches for their loved one. This isn’t true, people will constantly miss them, whether it’s because they made their favorite meal or saw their favorite color on a cute shirt. It will hurt for a while but one day the pain will become more bearable.  

Do not try to avoid grieving, people need to let the world end and crash around them. It needs to be okay and scream and cry and just let everything out. Let grief become their best friend, listen to what grief has to say because it can teach people so much.  

It can make people recall memories they could have forgotten, and it can bring people closer together. Grief can be such a powerful thing if people just let grief occur naturally and stop acting like everything is fine. People will mourn the ones they have lost forever and that is okay and normal.