Grief in 2020: The Year of All Firsts and No Firsts

Understanding Grief / Understanding Grief : Litsa


The first year of grief is the worst, that’s what they say. Like everything in grief, it isn’t always true… and it isn’t never true. The first year of grief is unimaginable. The world you knew and imagined with someone you loved has shattered into 10,000 pieces. No amount of glue is putting it back together. And every week brings new ‘firsts’ to face. The first meal made for one, the first birthday, the first holiday, the first time visiting those places you used to go together. The first year of grieving is excruciating, plain and simple, again and again.

That’s how I have always known the first year of grief, how I have always experienced it, how I have supported others through it… And then 2020 happened. I’ve lost three people in this complicated year. As I waded through the muck of grief month after month, as the holidays approached, something came into clear focus for me: I haven’t been experiencing those grief firsts. I mean, maybe sort of? But not really.

2020 has upended everything. Nothing looks the same as it did last year. Part of the devastation of those firsts in grief, part of what knocks you on your ass, is the contrast between present and past. You’re sitting around your holiday table, surrounded by friends, family, and tradition, but you’re acutely aware of that empty seat. Things feel both the same and yet completely different. The person you love is missing; the world is still turning, but they’re not in it.

But in 2020, there have been no normal holiday tables in my life. The contrast between present and past is not simply that those people you love are gone. It is that this year in no way resembles last year. Many “firsts” that would have happened any other year haven’t happened, because nothing about 2020 is familiar.

I walk past the restaurant where my friend and I had regular dinners and drinks before she died, but they haven’t been open for indoor dining, so the option of a “first” dinner there hasn’t been an option at all. Thanksgiving came and went and, though my uncle’s absence was deeply felt, it didn’t feel like the first Thanksgiving without him because it didn’t feel like Thanksgiving. I’m in that first year of grief, but the firsts look and feel entirely different. That hasn’t made it easier or harder, per se. In fact, it probably made it both.

We’ve always been quick to remind people that the first year is not always the hardest. For some people it is. For some, the first year is a blur, and the second year is suddenly so much harder than they imagined. I have to wonder what this strange experience of 2020 will mean. There is no crystal ball, but I imagine my second year of grieving these losses will be a year of firsts. And though there are no universals in grief, I imagine I won’t be alone.

I don’t have any advice here, no lessons or tips. Just an observation that yet another aspect of the complicated year we are all living through might impact the way our grief unfolds. And an invitation for you to share—whether you relate or you don’t, leave a comment. We’re all navigating this grieving alone-together in 2020 thing, so sometimes the best thing we can do is just share the thoughts and the feelings and the experiences and hope that maybe somehow it resonates with someone else.

We invite you to share your experiences, questions, and resource suggestions with the WYG community in the discussion section below.

We invite you to share your experiences, questions, and resource suggestions with the WYG community in the discussion section below.

Let’s be grief friends.

We post a new article to What’s Your Grief about once a week. Subscribe to stay up to date on all our posts.

Related Blog Posts

Related Blog Posts

See More

62 Comments on "Grief in 2020: The Year of All Firsts and No Firsts"

Click here to leave a Comment
  1. Sara M  June 4, 2021 at 10:53 am Reply

    Thank you for writing this. I am a bereavement counselor. I am working with bereaved that are starting to go back to “normal” activities because they have been vaccinated. They are experiencing heavy grief. I am advising them they have not had there “first” yet because we have been away from normal living. It makes all the sense in the world that this coming year no mater how loved ones died will experience delayed grief because we haven’t had the firsts. Not many professionals are addressing this yet. Thank you, your the first I found.

  2. Don Funk  April 13, 2021 at 11:06 am Reply

    Not sure how to start off with leaving a comment
    So I’ll start off with sharing my story with all. It kind of goes like I don’t know how I came across this website. It’s like if life the universe and or God guided me here.
    I ask of you to please read to the end of my story before you think of me as a coldhearted bastard.
    May 1, 2021 Will be one year after the passing of my wife/best friend and soulmate from terminal cancer I was her caregiver till the end that day morning I had to call the paramedics three times to help us it all started at 4 AM in the morning I woke up from a deep sleep overwhelmed with there was something wrong I ran out to the living room where my wife was sitting in her recliner she had thyroid cancer and had a trek in her throat to breathe I Bought her the chair many months before she could not lay flat in are bed I came out and she was stooped over on the floor in front of her chair she has slipped off in a crouched position at this time of her life she could not call out for help.
    I had went to bed midnight she was perfectly fine and sleeping
    I had to call the paramedics to help because many months before I had a workplace accident which tore both my left and right rotator cups on my shoulders it took everything I had to get her feet and legs from under her to have her sitting as comfortable as possible and call 911 the paramedics came and help lift her back up to her chair
    Debbie was her name you may ask why the hell didn’t you have them take her to the hospital at that time well Debbie wanted to pass away at home who was I defy her wishes so I sat there beside her until fatigue overcome me and fell asleep things go kind of foggy after that all I remember is I had to call for help two more times The third last time the paramedics had to help her to the bathroom that’s where she would have me take over and help her she said in a low week Voice my legs are giving out followed by falling backwards onto the bathroom door breaking it and then onto the floor
    In front of me I was so devastated I blast out in pain and devastated dammit Debbie
    Paramedics were there at this time everything went quiet seem like everything around me
    Has stopped I remember the paramedics looking like deers caught in the headlights In front of a car they pick Debbie up off the floor in the bathroom as I stood there helpless
    At this time it was around 9 AM in the morning it was a Friday I got a hold of Debbie‘s doctor filled him in what has happened after a long discussion with Debbie the doctor paramedics and myself Debbie finally agreed she needed to go to the hospital and from there to hospice Debbie was a petite little thing so fragile at this time it took four paramedics and a special Chair device to get Debbie on the stretcher
    This all happened at the beginning of the pandemic followed with complete lockdown when I go to the hospital at first they weren’t gonna let me in because of the lockdown I kept calm and collective there was a nurse in the hospital that overheard our conversation with me trying to get up go to see Debbie the nurse called a supervisor shortly after I was takin up to see my beloved Debbie
    She laid there in the hospital bed barely awake she give me a little smile I sat with her for hours time came that I had to leave her side to go home To let our dogs out side I rubbed and caressed Debbie’s hair head like so many times before she always liked me doing that lots of times I would till she would fall asleep I kissed her head and said I love you I will be back I reluctantly left her side well wouldn’t you know it it wasn’t even a full hour before I got home and let the dogs out before I got that call from the hospital Debbie had passed away at this time I wasn’t only devastated I was numb at this time The nurse asked me if I wanted to come up to see Debbie one last time I replied with no for I couldn’t bear to see her in that state Debbie had made prior arrangements for her funeral two weeks before passing away she didn’t want any big funeral or gathering after her passing just for me to bring her ashes home
    We had two dogs and a cat one dog was a pug schnauzer mix and the other one is a French bulldog the pug schnauzer mixed would stay beside Debbie side all the time two months after the passing of Debbie he started to go down his name was Diesel two months later he had passed away around 9 to 10 years old The doctor said diesel had passed away with a broken heart once again I find myself numb devastated It was like all life Had just came to stand still Debbie and I would’ve been together coming 40 years we had no children just a cat and two dogs that’s all I got left in life
    I woke this morning up to crying tears like a lonely broken hearted child confused I laid there I could feel a body on my back with snoring in the background I would wake up many times prior to my Debbies back leaning against mine and of all things fall asleep to melody of her snoring at sometime while I was laying there I realized it was our French bulldog spud was is his name I laid there in tears I bed I don’t know how or why I ended up with my iPad and what led me to this site
    I read each and everyone of your stories your losses your grief your pain i’m 60 years old my tears have not stopped since the beginning of reading your stories
    They’re not tears for myself there for all you people who are grieving

    I don’t say anniversary of Debbies passing because it’s nothing to celebrate about for myself
    I know people only mean well when they say I’m sorry so sorry for your loss
    I don’t share the thought that comes to mind after that comment but I feel what the hell you’re sorry for it’s not like that’s your loss kind of selfish of myself I guess

    Thank you all for sharing your stories
    Please feel free to follow up with comets good or bad happy or sad
    I go with saying I’m so sorry for saying sorry about your loss

    1
  3. Rose  March 21, 2021 at 2:28 am Reply

    I lost my beautiful sister to Covid in Dec.2020. She had just turned 50. She was the most generous caring and loving person. She was very church oriented and very spiritual. Our family has always been so close. This ripped our hearts out. We will never be the same. We spent the whole 2 months she was in the hospital praying. We had family and friends and our church praying. We would pray outside of the hospital for days. We had so much faith that God would heal her but unfortunately God’s plan was not what we hoped for. Our lives and her daughter’s and husband’s will never he the same. This Covid has been a nightmare for us and for many families who have had loved ones taken away from us.

    1
  4. ALASKA  February 20, 2021 at 5:21 pm Reply

    When my mum died it felt like i lost my whole family . My sister told me to stay away & my brother was just as bad . I never told my dad as he would have took my side & probably cut them out of his will . . But he would have heartbroken so im glad i never told him even though they’re taking me to court to evict me . They have ignored me for 2 years & I’m scared they’ll be able to evict me because i don’t understand probate or legal things & i havnt even got a solicitor where as theyve spent £7000 & saying il have to pay court fees. I don’t know how much my dad left & i feel really stupid cos they’re the only family iv got & they hate me . My sister said to a friend ” the sooner i kill myself the better ” . . & i dont know how il be able to represent myself in court . They say iv got ADHD but even if I have its the fact that they know I’m on my own after i was assaulted by my partner .. I pressed charges & they told me I deserved it . That was the last time they spoke to me .

    5
  5. Kelly Jackson  February 11, 2021 at 8:57 am Reply

    Thank you so much for writing and sharing your observations. It resonates with me in deep ways…I completely agree that my grieving has been impacted in great ways my our current world that is like no other.
    It did me so much good to hear that someone else is trudging through this uncharted territory – I am not alone.
    Thank you!

    5
  6. Sandra  January 26, 2021 at 10:12 pm Reply

    My world forever changed in September 2020. This is when my loving, adventurous, kind, funny, and caring 25 yr. old son Evan died by suicide. I can’t describe the pain and sense of extreme loss. I will live with this grief in some form until I see Evan again. I feel the lockdown and Covid situation ultimately contributed to his death. I have learned that suicide knows no boundaries. It affects the old, young, rich, poor and middle class. I never thought it could happen to someone so very loved and supported. I can tell you it happens more than you realize. I am experiencing this year of firsts. It helps to say his name and talk to him and share stories with family and friends. I have read many comments and wish and pray for healing for us all.

    7
    • Tina Mann  February 27, 2021 at 8:17 pm Reply

      I too lost my daughter to suicide but nine years ago . I just want to say grieve all you need & do not let anyone who hasn’t been through it tell you Evan is in a better place when he should be with you & im so sorry

      7
  7. Pat  January 18, 2021 at 2:32 pm Reply

    I lost my husband of 27 years in May; i actually walked in from work to find him dead in our family room. Needless to say I was and still am devastated.
    At the time of his passing our city, county, and state were closed. I could only have 10 people at his service, 5 of which were myself and our two sons and daughter-in-laws.
    I feel than I not only lost my love, my life but also that I threw away his life since I could not have a proper service for him. I feel so ashamed of not giving him a service that he deserved; one that his friends and our family could attend.
    The firsts that I have already experienced I think will only be worst in 2021 if things do ever “get back to normal”. I know my life will never be normal again.

    6
    • Isabelle Siegel  January 19, 2021 at 12:19 pm Reply

      Pat, I’m so sorry for your loss. I recommend you check out this resource, which addresses how difficult it can be to not have a proper memorial for those who have passed: https://whatsyourgrief.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Grief-Covid-Document.pdf Please know that it’s okay if your life is never “normal” again… There will be a new normal. I also highly suggest you give this article a read: https://whatsyourgrief.com/grief-recovery-is-not-a-thing/ All the best.

      1
    • Trish  March 8, 2021 at 2:00 pm Reply

      Please be gentle with yourself: this year alone has been traumatic enough and then add the death of your husband. That is enough to weigh you down without the blame or regret you may be adding on top of your grief. Maybe it would help to ask what your husband would say to you about not “giving him the service he deserved?” He would probably want to reassure and comfort you that everything you did and are doing is just what he would want. He would want you to be okay and know that he loves you. I lost my beloved four years ago, a couple best girlfriends a year later, and then my mom last October. It is crushing, the grief and sorrow I feel. But. I have tried to be gentle with myself that I’m doing the best I can and in the knowledge that they would approve. ❤️

      2
  8. Tracy  January 14, 2021 at 4:46 am Reply

    I found this by chance whilst researching grief.
    I lost my husband of 32 yrs suddenly on 18/12/2020.. his funeral was 24/12/2020…. he was only 61.
    I have hardly shed a tear and I love him so much. I’m quite an outgoing person, and work as a staff nurse. I have went back to work 3 weeks after his passing as I cannot bear to be in here alone.
    My husband had not worked for 5 years and was always there.. I just miss him so much, but appear bright to the outside world..I am heartbroken…
    I don’t know if this is normal, but I just feel lost right now and the future terrifies me.. but I’m 56, so I’m hoping I have one.
    I can talk about him, laugh about things we did, but there is just this huge piece of me missing and I’m not really sure how to deal with it. My main worry is that I have some sort of meltdown cos everyone thinks I’m coping “too well”. Time will tell. Thank you. ❤️

    4
    • IsabelleS  January 15, 2021 at 11:45 am Reply

      Tracy, I’m so very sorry for your loss. There is no such thing as coping “too well.” You are coping in the only way you know how to, and that’s perfectly okay! As far as your fear of a meltdown is concerned, this so normal. I highly recommend you check out this article: https://whatsyourgrief.com/grief-makes-you-crazy2/ All the best to you.

      1
  9. Susan E Wood  January 13, 2021 at 4:58 pm Reply

    Thank you so much for a great article about death and grief in 2020. My siblings and I lost our Mom on December 14th, 2020. She fell on Friday and died on Monday. I feel so so guilty because I did not see my Mom at all during 2020. And, I missed my plane from MN to CA on the 14th and by the time I arrived, she was gone. I missed her by 25 minutes. I remember her lying in her bed, gone, and I have never felt such despair and grief in my life, all mixed up with guilt. I just can’t forgive myself for not seeing her at all in 2020 and hugging and kissing her. Yes, her Assisted Living Facility was in quarantine for most of 2020, but that doesn’t help much. My sister lives 45 minutes away and saw her frequently after August (mask and distancing) and once in a while could take her out and about. My brother, who also lives in MN, was able to see her three times. I saw her not at all. I usually visit her 3-4 times a year and had visits planned in March, July, and my kids and I had a road trip planned right after Christmas. But none of that happened. yes, I called – but it’s not the same. How do I deal with my feelings of guilt?

    4
  10. Amy  January 10, 2021 at 2:59 am Reply

    I just came across this site while researching over grief. My dad passed away suddenly on July 3, 2020. He became very weak in April and then went into the hospital in June and died in less than a month. I was there in the ICU for four days and nights in a row and watched him breathe his last. My two sisters and my mom were able to sing his favorite hymns and a song he composed about heaven when my sisters and I were little girls. Because of covid, I have not had the support I wanted when it happened. None of the pastors at the church I was a member called to check on me after my dad passed away. The grief I was experiencing over my dad passing away only just now hit me on new year’s Eve. Since New Year’s Eve, I have experienced so many intense emotions and so many rapid mood swings that I was convinced I was going insane. It’s like all the grief and heartache of 2020 is finally catching up with me in 2021! Isolation is not helping. So I have decided to go to church in person again tmrrow and I also have decided to join a Griefshare support group because I can no longer handle this grief on my own. I am the oldest of four sisters and I was the closest to my dad. We were like two peas in a pod. He was my greatest support. He would always drop enriching he was doing and be there to listen to me vent, cry, share about my day etc. Now that he is gone, the house feels so empty without him. I miss our talks, I miss his hugs, I miss him so much. I am so grateful I found this website because I was completely convinced I was going insane. I had no idea grief was going to be this hard. I have been struggling w suicidal thoughts since New Year’s Eve mainly because I’m finally realizing my dad truly is gone. I’m also realizing that the masks, social distancing is not going anyway anytime soon. I miss seeing people’s faces. I miss community. My heart is also grieving over the hatred on our country and how the pandemic has monopolized our conversations. I don’t want to focus on the pandemic anymore. I don’t want to read the news anymore. I just want to live my life to the fullest just like I was before my world turned upside down. Fear is not the answer. I’m not afraid of covid. What I’m afraid of is losing someone else that I love. What I’m afraid of is going completely insane because of the isolation. I also struggle w chronic health issues that flared up majorly in 2020 and flared up even more after my dad passed away. I have decided my mental health is just as important as my physical health and I’m willing to take steps to better my health. Thank you.

    2
    • IsabelleS  January 11, 2021 at 11:31 am Reply

      Amy, I’m so sorry for your loss and for the pain you are experiencing. I know it may not feel like it, but all the emotions you’re navigating are normal and valid. I recommend you check out these articles: https://whatsyourgrief.com/grief-makes-you-crazy2/ and https://whatsyourgrief.com/what-does-grief-feel-like/ Grieving is difficult enough, but grieving amidst the pandemic is all the more complicated. You may want to consider these resources: https://whatsyourgrief.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Grief-Covid-Document.pdf and https://school.whatsyourgrief.com/p/grief-isolation-covid If you are thinking of hurting yourself, or even if you just need someone to talk with, please call the National Suicide Helpline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit their website where you can do a live online chat https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ All the best to you.

      1
    • Kate  January 12, 2021 at 5:00 pm Reply

      Absolutely, is it the first year of grieving? I feel spared the pain of the firsts and have appreciated all the time I have had for thinking, time for dealing with paperwork etc, time for healing. I have not yet had conversations and comforting with family and friends, reminiscing. It has felt a lonely private grief. Will it be hard to share, to experience all those firsts of him not being here or easier being so long since his death? My husband died suddenly and unexpectedly in February 2020 just as Covid was changing our lives, mine changed completely. He has never been part of this nightmare year. I feel I am waiting until the pandemic ends before I can make any progress. I am dreading the ‘back to normal’ in some ways but have hope that I will find solace in the company of friends and family even though I expect it will be painful.

      2
  11. Jane Banks  January 8, 2021 at 9:33 am Reply

    My husband died unexpectedly in 3 minutes (180 seconds) in front of me in our kitchen on
    7-25-2020. I went into shock, for the first week after he dropped dead right before my eyes, I did not know what or why I did the things I did, like I got rid of everything in our home other than furniture. I loaded up the cars trunk, backseat, and passenger side seat for 20 trips to the Goodwill with ALL of Our beautiful knick-knacks, wall art work, possessions; things my husband Loved. I probably did this because I wanted to leave this earth too. I thought of how simple it would be to go into the garage, start the car, and in no time I would be joining my beloved husband. I’ve been told how my 2 sisters and a good girlfriend tried to get me to stop giving our priceless belongings away. But boy oh boy was the Goodwill thrilled to see me trip after trip day after day; they thought they hit the jackpot! Somehow I finally started phone counseling, I don’t even remember how. But here I still am today, albeit struggling through traumatic grief and the isolation COVID-19 has caused further complicating my grief journey. I think my second year will be worse than this already unimaginable first year.

    6
  12. ctheartinme  January 8, 2021 at 8:54 am Reply

    My husband of 31 years died in his sleep of a massive heart attack in December of 2019. He struggled with alcoholism and a financially devastating gambling addiction. I am in the midst of complicated grief. I have many years of alanon, support groups, therapy, and faith based support, (this being the most helpful). I have found over the years that separating the man from the addiction has been helpful in letting go of resentment and anger. I miss the man I married. I grieve over “my person”, the person my husband was without the alcohol. He was a good man with a bad addiction that eventually took his life. I have anticipatory grief in the fact that I most likely will lose the home that we made together for the past 28 years. The home we raised our now adult children in. The place they come home to every year for holidays and summer vacations. Covid has all of us grieving something. We are a nation grieving over death of loved ones ravaged by a disease that has taken away our collective rituals of grieving, over life as we once knew it that will never be the same as pre-covid life, over financial devastation, and over a nation that is tearing itself apart bit by bit. What tragedies! My faith has been instrumental in navigating all of this. My faith reminds me that we are never alone, that this earth is not truly our home. In this life there will always be trouble. But we have a God who has overcome this world. Who waits for us to come to Him with all of our worries, fears, and heartache. I don’t know what the future holds for me, where I’ll live, if I’ll stay healthy, or if my family and friends will be here tomorrow. But I have an assurance that I’ll be taken care of by my God who will never forsake me and who is preparing a room for me to live with him forever. My husband will be there too, free from addiction, free from guilt, and waiting to welcome me. It’s what I look forward to, it’s what keeps me fighting every day, and it’s what I cling to. I pray for all of us and for the peace that surpasses all understanding.

    4
    • IsabelleS  January 8, 2021 at 1:31 pm Reply

      Hi, I’m so sorry for the loss of your husband and for the potential future loss of your home. I’m glad you’re getting the support that you need, and that your relationship with your faith has remained so strong. You may be interested in this article: https://whatsyourgrief.com/grief-and-faith-grief-belief/ All the best to you.

      1
    • Margaret Schneider  January 10, 2021 at 11:03 am Reply

      Lost my best friend / common law husband of 8 years to COVID just before Christmas! He begged me to not let go of him . His last request was don’t let me die in the hospital,as he lied dying in my arms I called 911 . He died in route to the hospital We laughed ,cried and did everything together . To top it off his son and wife came and torn his house apart for stuff that was his immediately after he died . They were so cold toward me ,they told me to leave.I left with my purse and the clothes on my back.I am giving this to God because I don’t know what he has in store for me, but I am learning to trust.Jesus asked the apostles to leave all things you have and come and follow Me! I know the Lord will provide for me. I know my husband is not far away .He is at peace and and he has asked me to pray for his children .

      Wha

      2
      • IsabelleS  January 11, 2021 at 11:23 am

        Margaret, I’m so very sorry for your loss.

  13. Karl Bartlett  January 8, 2021 at 6:52 am Reply

    My wife died in October of 2020, having being diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer only in Feb.
    2020 is a year full of pain through delayed treatment options through to a lockdown funeral with all the problems around even paying basic respects.
    A year to forget, my heart goes out to those unable to have those basic human rights of marking the passing of loved ones this year.
    Footnote 2021 the agony of lockdown alone goes on.

  14. Vicki  January 5, 2021 at 7:58 pm Reply

    I lost my mom, 2019…my dad june 2020 and my husband Oct 2020. I feel so numb and confused.

    The nights are the hardest. I miss my husband so much. We were married for 32 years.

    4
  15. Rhonda  December 27, 2020 at 4:14 pm Reply

    Thank you for your comments about the difficulty of grieving in 2020. I lost my father this year and the isolation and pandemic has made everything more difficult. The funeral and entire experience was completely different from when I loss my mother. It was helpful just reading your words!

    1
    • IsabelleS  December 28, 2020 at 11:40 am Reply

      Rhonda, I’m very sorry for your loss. Grief is complicated on its own, but this year has made it all the more so.

  16. Maria  December 25, 2020 at 6:43 am Reply

    Hi my son died on September 19/2019, he was 37 and my brother passed away Oct 3/2020. I am grieving at the same time I am trying to support my mom . I am in a state of not really acknowledging its 2 so real one after the other I am one moment overwhelmed to the next moment I don’t even know. I find tht to accept truly what have happened its just to much I swear my pain was coming out as an indenty it was huge I was choking to the point that I had to halt any emotions and not let i out because I don’t thin, no I know I am unable to handle it so mentally im just disappear to were I don’t know. Thank you for letting me share. Feeling like I’m on an lost.

    1
  17. Tina  December 24, 2020 at 12:33 pm Reply

    Thank you so much for this post. It resonated so much with my heart. I lost my youngest brother to suicide on August 27, 2020. If this year wasnt already filled with so much loss and sadness, this truly was the worst thing on top of it all. I’m trying to be in the holiday spirit for my family, but my alone times behind closed doors are filled with tears and wishes for second chances. Sending Peace and Love to you all. Thank you for sharing your heartaches so we all don’t feel so alone in our hurting.

  18. Martha  December 20, 2020 at 8:27 am Reply

    Thank you for this post acknowledging grief in 2020 is different. This year has been a difficult year for most. People are grieving so many losses- public ceremonies, connections with people, on and on. But I want to scream when I hear these “trivial” complaints, “Do you still have all your loved ones?!” This, and the fact we are more isolated. No big funeral with time to reminisce and tell stories. No visiting with out of state relatives for support. Holidays do not even begin to resemble “normal”. Thank you for acknowledging this and giving people holding grief a place to be seen and heard, especially now. Peace be with you.

    1
    • IsabelleS  December 21, 2020 at 11:05 am Reply

      Martha, thank you for taking the time to comment and to share your perspective. Of course, everyone has the right to grieve whatever they need to. That being said, I understand that it must be frustrating to hear people use the word “grieving” to describe non-death losses. You may be interested in this resource, which discusses some of the unique challenges of grieving in the time of COVID (some of which you mentioned): https://whatsyourgrief.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Grief-Covid-Document.pdf All the best to you.

    • Ferly  December 27, 2020 at 12:12 am Reply

      I was born in a broken family and during that time I dont know what should I feel or how should I react since I was so innocent that time.

      Heres the story. My mother cant support us financially and she decided to leave us to our grandparents and aunt. I always thought I was Ok but then as I grow up I realize how painful it is to lived without the support of your parents especially your father. My parents were never been married and during my mother is pregnant with my older sister my father left them to find work in Manila but unfortunately she has another woman and also pregnant with their child but he left them again and get back to my mother. They are settled then and when my mother was pregnant with me they were okay until my mother left to visit my lola in province my father got another woman again believe it or not the girl is pregnant with their child, we just have a 4 months gap. It was so hard for my mother that time that thinking it today makes me hate my father more and more. In an early stage of life when another child is so happy pampered with love and care from their parents, I was the lonely one, I never experience that kind of thing but I understand the situation and really work hard in my study. Everytime I try to play with the other children in our neighborhood my aunt always gets angry, i dont have any freedom or opportunity to experience how it is to be a child but I always think positively that one day everything will be okay. God is with me I can overcome anything thats coming my way.

      Year 2013 I was on my 2nd year on High School with a loving boyfriend and luckily I lived with my mom my step dad and my older sister that time already, and how Ironic it is to think that our house is beside the house of my father and his wife. Still, i dont care as long as I am with my mother but unfortunately my father died, in a normal situation, I should cry right? It should be painful but that time I was numb to feel anything, I was reminded the pain he make my mom to suffer and he was their watching yet being happy with his new family. I was angry that time and hatred overcome unto me. We are just force to attend his funeral and even a one bit of tear never drop from my eyes. I dont feel sympathy at all. We just live like a normal family and fortunately me and my sister were now already living our own profession, she was now a teacher and me was a BSBA graduate .

      The other day was christmas December 25,2020 and we never expected that a tragic moment of in our life will happened. My husband (we are not yet married but we lived together for almost 4 years) dad collapsed and we hurriedly went to the emergency. His family was already their crying and on panic and shocked of what was just happened. ( As of now Me and my husband is living with my parents and his parents is in another place but we are on the same barangay and city. When I was studying in my 3rd and 4th year in college I lived with them together with his family and we recently move out and live with my parents. I was close with his family like it was my own ) Back to the story- When we arrived at the emergency, I also want to cry after I saw the situation of his father. The emergency doctor refer his father to a hospital since it needed to be an ICU and his head needed to be scan . There’s no available public hospitals due to Covid and private hospitals need a 21,000 worth of down payment fortunately we find the money and for almost 4 hours of being in an emergency clinic they transferred him to a private hospital in another city . My husband sister and her boyfriend went with tito( his father;the patient) in an ambulance and his aunt and uncle will follow using their car while me and my husband go home since I have my work the next day and so he is but he will take a day off and follow there after.

      Yesterday my husband is on the hospital where his father was confined and he called me crying that his father situation is in a worst state. There is blood that clog on his head left and right that even after surgery that even if a miracle happens that he might live, its still useless. If he ever live he will just suffer and my husband and sisters and brother specially his mother cant take a look with that sight. The doctor gave them a choice and my husband decided to give up cause we cant do anything on the situation even if try anything. Last night it was ended that I cant still accept what’s happening. What should i feel? Should I let my tears drop or stop it and be strong for my husband and his family. Is tito really dead? He was so young . My husband younger sister is just 7 years old. How can we explain it to her? Why tito of all people? It was a christmas day we should be celebrating and the new year is coming . It was so difficult for me right now how come for my husbands family. I was in so much pain that I cant hardly express it. He was beyond worth deserving on being a father not just for his family but also for me and cant really accept and everything was a blur for me. I am suffering alone i dont want my husband to see that I am because he was trying so hard to be strong since he was the oldest of them. I am grieving but I need to be strong I cant just let my emotions makes me weak but still what should I do I am new to this. The fact thinking that tito was dead makes my heart so stingy .😭😭😭

      1
      • IsabelleS  December 28, 2020 at 12:04 pm

        Ferly, I am so sorry that you have been forced to go through all of this. As far as your father’s death is concerned, I highly recommend you check out this article: https://whatsyourgrief.com/grieving-someone-you-didnt-like/ As far as your husband’s father is concerned, I hear that you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself to “be strong.” What does “being strong” look like? Perhaps you should check out this article: https://whatsyourgrief.com/what-does-it-mean-to-be-strong-in-grief/ I know that you want to appear “okay” for your husband and his family, but please allow yourself to feel whatever it is that you need to feel. Break down if you need to… It’s normal and okay. All the best to you.

    • Jeffrey Gallegos  December 28, 2020 at 12:05 am Reply

      I met Lorri in 1977,we married August 16 1980.We have 4 children, jeffrey, Jacob, our daughter jordan, and Joshua.Our son Joshua was born oct 17,1994. lorri’s mom went to heaven oct 31,1994 from a stroke at the age of 56.My wife loved her mom so much, she was her best friend Our son Jacob was killed December 8,2016.My Mom went to heaven September 22,2019.My wife Lorri went to heaven July 15,2020.Please pray for me. Thank you, love Jeff

      • IsabelleS  December 28, 2020 at 11:26 am

        Jeffrey, thank you for taking the time to comment and to share your story. I’m truly so sorry for the many losses you have been forced to endure. I suggest you check out this article: https://whatsyourgrief.com/cumulative-grief-aka-grief-overload/ My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. All the best to you.

  19. Julia Evans  December 20, 2020 at 3:18 am Reply

    I lost my Mom this year. She was the last living relative I had. I am an only child with no children. My husband died nine years ago. I always knew the day would come when I would literally be all alone in the world but he was going to be with me. At least that was MY plan. This year would have been horrible but with the pandemic it has made horrible even worse. As hard as it is being alone I thank God each day that I’m healthy. But I admit it would be wonderful not to feel so alone all the time.

    1
  20. Diana  December 19, 2020 at 12:59 pm Reply

    My husband died two years ago and I thought going into the third year I would do better. But, the pain is still so intense. After 50 years together I am struggling not having him with me. This year has made everything harder—not being able to get with my friends and family and not getting to see my sons and their families. My biggest support person that I had died on Thanksgiving day of Covid. She was my sister-in-law and best friend. How could I lose the two most important people in my life? This just seems unbearable at times, but I know I must go on and try to help my brother-in-law deal with his grief.

    1
    • IsabelleS  December 21, 2020 at 11:25 am Reply

      Diana, I’m so sorry for the multiple losses you have experienced. You may want to check out this article: https://whatsyourgrief.com/cumulative-grief-aka-grief-overload/ I know you want to be there for your brother-in-law, but please take care of yourself first. You cannot help him unless you also help yourself. All the best.

  21. Cathy Wolf  December 17, 2020 at 4:31 pm Reply

    I lost my husband of 50 years this November 7, 2020. I was his caregiver as he was unable to care for himself for the last few years. I have relief from the caregiving but extreme grief to the loss of my best friend and lover. I am feeling numb and in shock this first holiday season without him.

  22. Ghazala Khan  December 15, 2020 at 6:08 pm Reply

    It will be a year next year in Feb 2021 since my beloved younger sister’s passing- I know it will not be easy approaching her First anniversary she was the closest person to me in my life that I have lost.

  23. Cindy  December 15, 2020 at 2:18 pm Reply

    Hi , lost my lover last year October .and this was year for first time.My grief has been coming In waves .but atleast I have better days now .the covid time ..gave me alot of alone time .Life has not been so easy so when u are alone ..at times u worry , the missing intensifies .and the empty void inside …But I realized u never really forget them .Covid also gave me a chance to try working on my self as if someone isn’t very careful .u can end up mentally unstable .it is important to take care of yourself .I decided to keep my self busy and pray for God’s healing

    1
    • IsabelleS  December 17, 2020 at 10:19 am Reply

      Cindy, I’m very sorry for your loss. The pandemic has definitely complicated the grieving process. I’m glad to hear that you are having better days now and that you have been keeping busy. All the best to you.

  24. Jackie  December 15, 2020 at 9:51 am Reply

    I agree, this year has been the worst but there were firsts that haven’t been able to happen. I lost my 27 year old son in May to suicide and we were not able to have a gathering of family/ friends to mourn him because of Covid. I wanted that so much and it was robbed from us. We hope to have it in 2021 but I feel it will be like ripping open the wound again.

    1
  25. Jillian Bain  December 15, 2020 at 2:28 am Reply

    My 14 yr old daughter died suddenly on 26th Dec 2019 so this has been my first year of grieving. I have missed not being able to see family and friends, to get a hug when I need one, to hold a memorial service for my girl or do some of the ‘firsts’ like visit a place we loved, go on holiday or see her school friends. It frightens me to think what next year may bring, this year has been so painful.

    1
    • IsabelleS  December 15, 2020 at 11:21 am Reply

      Jillian, I’m so very sorry for your loss. Grieving in 2020 has brought with it many unique challenges… I recommend you check out this resource: https://whatsyourgrief.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Grief-Covid-Document.pdf I completely understand being fearful about what 2021 will bring. Please be gentle with yourself as you navigate the grieving process. All the best.

  26. Kate  December 15, 2020 at 12:44 am Reply

    This article resonates my truth in grieving my father who died in Jan. 2020. The first 6 weeks were similar to how I felt when I lost my mother pre-maturely a decade ago. Shock, denial and busy with the administrative tasks of “closing down” someone’s life. With my mother, after this phase, I began to experience extreme loss and sadness, especially as I confronted the many “firsts”; Mother’s Day, birthdays, holidays, dance recitals and little league games and so on. With my father, after the first few weeks of shock and numbness, we went into lock down for months. Our lives were filled with loss, like all who are living through this pandemic. Graduation cancelled, no prom for my son, no travel or seeing family or friends, no more going into the office… Not having dad around got rolled up into the many losses I was experiencing . Just like I thought when this is over, we can go out to dinner again, I thought “when this is over, I’ll see dad again”. COVID-19 has definitely interrupted by grieving. I’m sure I don’t even really understand its effect completely. More recently , with the holidays here am beginning to experience sadness and despair. I never had a Christmas without my dad. Thanksgiving was torture. People say to respect your grief and to let yourself feel your loss. I am so sad, I want to skip the holidays all together. But as the mother/woman the family looks to me to make it festive; the last thing I feel is festive. I have to do it for the kids, but it is so very difficult. Recently, I cleaned out his home and that left me raw. Days and days of going through his papers, photos and belongings have made his death more real. Now all of his belongings are in boxes in my basement, waiting until I have the strength to sort through them. what will year 2 bring? I know that COVID has impacted my grieving, I’,m just not sure how. I suppose time will tell. For now, rest in peace daddy. I loved you dearly.

    1
  27. Issy  December 14, 2020 at 10:09 pm Reply

    Hi, I’ve come across you all due to googling words to describe how I feel and thankfully found this site.

    For the past two years I looked after my husband who had terminal cancer. He died twelve weeks ago and I’m sad… very sad. I live in a small country town in Western Australia and during my husbands prognosis my son and his family moved over from Melbourne to maximise their time and support. I have two little grandchildren who my husband and I received so much joy from. They kept us in the present and my husband made use of his time with his grandchildren and they adored him… I would look after them Tuesdays and Wednesdays in my bid to see my husband smile, laugh and sometimes cry at what he knew he was leaving behind.

    He was assured with the fact that I would not be alone, having my beautiful sons’ young family living here in this town and our daughter who moved down from the city.

    It was sweet and yet at times bitter… being all together, laughing and sharing meals mixed in with tears for what was to come and the loss of someone who meant the world to us… somehow this experience seemed to have brought us closer. We gave my husband a great last two years of his life… it was deep and meaningfully happy as well as equally sad.

    He became interested in Buddhist philosophy and grew to accept that this is what it is and he is no different from anyone else experiencing suffering in this life. He truly made it easier for us, his family. My gratitude practice helped me in the early moments even though my heart ached for the routines we shared… like waking up next to him… sharing our favourite meals… watching comedy on the television… being in stitches from laughing so much… feeling his great hugs and kisses and love…

    When my husband of 36 years died, I somehow felt not prepared to watch him take his last breath and become lifeless… amazing given that we had two years to prepare. We as a family were by his side until his final breath … this was his greatest wish for when the time arrived …Once he was gone I was on a mission to be functioning and okay… I wanted to be strong and a pillar for my adult children … I looked at all the positives to be grateful… you know? like the fact that I knew he was dying and had time to talk deeply about our past and the present moment… the fact that I had him for thirty six years of my life… the fact that we had two beautiful children etc etc.

    We all do grieve in our own personal ways… even family members who experienced and witnessed the same process as each other. Sadly, after my husbands funeral my son and his family are no longer in my and my daughters’ life. My son is angry… not sure really but the little conversation we did share was expressed with so much anger and pain… I feel so much sadder at not being able to be close to my son at this time of his own grieving… this made me think of the times I could hold his hand when he was little and guide him across the road… he’s now a grown man and he doesn’t want my hand… I felt guilt at being the parent who is still here and my husband gone.

    The added grief for both my daughter and I is that we’re now missing my son and his family… the same family who brought us joy and comfort when my husband was dying… We have reached out to him but the silence is deafening… I will never give up on my son but the more I reach to him the more sadder I become and lose any sense of hope for reconciling … and even then what would it look like if we were able to move forward… horrible words were said… cruel and painful behaviours that cut deep at a time when we’re all so sad… it’s amazing how painful emotions can be… my heart hurts… my mind rarely turns off and one day soon I have to go back to work and mix with everyday colleagues and clients… I am working on finding a way to hide and control this sadness in preparation for the routine of work. I am also hopeful that by then my pain will be lessened and my son and his family back in my everyday life.

    Special occasions coming up like my husband’s birthday just before Christmas… and then Christmas… New Years … a day… just another day… but without him for the first time since I was seventeen years old… I knew and still know him well enough to know that he would have been very sad if he had any incline that his family would no longer be lovingly functional… I also know that he would be forgiving of any ill words and emotions shared… this will be my aim… I wish I could control this sad aspect of my situation at a time like this … but I can’t control any of that… surrender adds to the pain as well as the acceptance of my own limitations… I can only control my own emotions and continue to seek help from my counselor, family and friends… I have also discovered that this is quite common amongst families when a loving member dies.

    I just wanted to share my story in the bid to add to this commonality… not that it makes it easier … but maybe a little hope that we’re not alone.

    I look forward to ‘time’ … if in fact it does heal.

    Thanks for being a place to tell you my story anonymously.

    I wish you peace and loving kindness.

    Issy

    3
  28. Jody  December 13, 2020 at 9:52 pm Reply

    I work in hospice and this year has been so very hard on so many levels. People not able to be with loved ones as they die isolated. People not able to have memorial services for loved ones. Our nurses not able to see our patients because of facility lockdowns. I am a parent, and this year has been so hard. My daughter starting 7th grade on line, in a new school. She has to do piano lessons over zoom. She struggles to find her way through friendships that mostly happen online, and email cannot convey tone, sarcasm, and humor. This year has been so very ridiculous. Our son is away at treatment for reactive attachment disorder, and we could not see him this year. My dear friend was diagnosed with breast cancer, and I could not be as present and helpful as I would like. I fear for her and her mental health has taken a huge hit. And her work place fired her and I am left with nothing to do to help. My mentally I’ll sister has decided she does not want to have anything to do with our parents, and there is nothing I can do…. still… to help that. This year has been so rough on so many, that we all want a do over, but God forbid it would not be any better….we all need mercy and kindness…. please…

    4
    • IsabelleS  December 14, 2020 at 11:12 am Reply

      Jody, I’m sorry to hear that 2020 has been so hard for you. This year has brought with it many challenges. It sounds as though you have encountered a lot of losses this year, and you have every right to grieve them. You may want to check out this article: https://whatsyourgrief.com/cumulative-grief-aka-grief-overload/ All the best to you.

      1
  29. Daniel Janich  December 13, 2020 at 5:15 pm Reply

    I don’t believe that for many of us grief from a devastating loss this year is any easier because of the communal isolation we are all experiencing, making this year feel different anyway. Instead, it is just different, and in some respects, it may be more difficult because you don’t have the opportunity to connect in a way that you usually would with friends or family who can provide support. Zoom has its limits and cannot provide that in-person eye contact, that body language communication, even that needed hug. When the world gets back to some semblance of normalcy, the grief experienced this year may just carry over to the next and perhaps felt a bit harder for all the reasons you describe. If anything, to me the pandemic has perhaps prolonged the trajectory of the healing process for many of us.

    5
    • IsabelleS  December 14, 2020 at 11:20 am Reply

      Daniel, thank you for taking the time to comment and to share your perspective. I completely agree… The pandemic and isolation that comes with it may very well prolong the grieving process. Once we return to normalcy, people are going to grieve in that context as well. 2020 has truly been a nightmare! All the best to you.

      1
  30. Andreia  December 13, 2020 at 8:47 am Reply

    Perfect. I really connect to your texts. They describe amazingly and truly what grieve really is.
    What we have to hide as society expect us to be strong and not negative as we talk about the ones are gone… It is an ending circle where people suffers alone in the fantasy world of the fake happiness of social media. Apart from the unbearable pain of losing who you love also our world turned upside down. What ifs. I came at the right time to take my sister to the hospital. She got sepsis due to diabetes complications then she got covid in the hospital after two weeks. I am not sure if she would have survided if she would not take covid. But I came a month later because I was stuck in another country. If it was not covid I would have returned a month earlier and maybe take her to doctor before her infection turned into a sepsis and she would be alive now. I will never know. But I really cannot define 2020. Even when I know so many people are sharing the same pain. No last goodbyes. Not even a hug. Our loved ones died alone. No visit to the cemetery due to procedures. If it was not covid my sister would be here. Or not? Never there will be an answer. It is what it is as hard as it can be. The normal life we expected to live does not exist anymore. Forever. It will be forever like this. And it hurts. 2020 was cruel. It took the presumed life of so many people. Evetyhing is different. And hopefully humanity will learn the lesson what matters in life. We have only today. Tomorrow nobody knows what can unfold.

    1
    • IsabelleS  December 14, 2020 at 11:46 am Reply

      Andreia, I’m so sorry for your loss. I cannot begin to understand how difficult it must be to have so many “what if’s” about your sister’s death. Losing a loved one to COVID brings about so many unanswered questions and challenges. I recommend you check out this resource: https://whatsyourgrief.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Grief-Covid-Document.pdf All the best.

Leave a Comment

YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED. Required fields are marked *