24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
(800)421-8825
Fax: (361)578-5500

Medical Disorders
Resources
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
AHA News: More People Are Dying During the Pandemic – and Not Just From COVID-19Antiviral Drugs Tied to Heart Issue in COVID-19 PatientsMost Survivors of Severe COVID-19 Report Symptoms Many Weeks After 'Recovery'Terrifying Delirium Can Strike Hospitalized COVID-19 PatientsCold War Antiseptic May Be Valuable Germ FighterWith Social Distancing, Schools Should Be Safe to Reopen This Fall, Experts SayU.S. Sees Another Record-Breaking Day of New Coronavirus Cases'Aerosol Boxes' Meant to Protect COVID Health Teams Might Harm Them: StudyAHA News: Where Do New Viruses Like the Coronavirus Come From?Blood Test May Reveal Concussion Severity With Accuracy of Spinal TapIn Many Cases, Hip Replacement Also Eases Back Pain'Broken Heart Syndrome' Has Risen During Pandemic: StudyCoronavirus Fears Kept Many Essential Workers at Home in April: StudyExposure to Iodine in the NICU May Affect Infant Thyroid FunctionA Dangerous Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria May Now Lurk in U.S. Water, SoilZika May Have Damaged More Infants' Brains Than ExpectedU.S. Air Pollution Still at Deadly Levels, Study FindsCOVID-19 Outbreaks at Meat Processing Plants Are Hitting Minorities HardU.S. Coronavirus Cases Near 3 Million as Hospitals in Sun Belt Fill Up With PatientsAHA News: Months After Infection, Many COVID-19 Patients Can't Shake IllnessCoronavirus Ups Anxiety, Depression in the LGBTQ CommunityMajor Medical Groups Urge Americans to Wear Face MasksBlack Patients Fare Worse After AngioplastyHow Immune System Fights COVID-19 May Be Key to Vaccine SuccessWill the COVID-19 Pandemic Leave a Mental Health Crisis in Its Wake?New U.S. Coronavirus Cases Hit Another HighMultiple Surgeries for Cleft Lip, Palate Won't Cause Major Psychological DamageHIV May Not Worsen COVID-19 OutlookU.S. Coronavirus Hospitalizations Spiking in South, WestAHA News: To Everything There Is a Season, Including Heart DiseaseAsthma, Allergies Plus Pandemic May Pose 4th of July ChallengesStroke Appears 8 Times More Likely With COVID Than With FluCOVID-19 Death Risk Twice as High in New York City as Some CountriesFireworks Are Bad News for Your LungsScientists Find Source of COVID ClotsNew U.S. Coronavirus Cases Top 50,000 as More States Slow Reopening PlansNumbers of Non-COVID-19 Deaths Up During PandemicNo Good Evidence on Accuracy of Coronavirus Antibody Tests: StudyAHA News: COVID-19 Pandemic Brings New Concerns About Excessive DrinkingMuscle Relaxants for Back Pain Are Soaring: Are They Safe?Trauma of Racism Fuels High Blood Pressure Among Black Americans: StudyCOVID-19 Blood Test Might Predict Who Will Need a VentilatorWhat's the Best DIY Face Mask Against COVID-19?Deep Brain Stimulation May Slow Parkinson's, Study FindsU.S. Could See 100,000 New Cases of COVID-19 Each Day, Fauci SaysGlobally, COVID-19 Cases May Stretch Far Beyond Official Numbers: StudyFBI: Beware of Scammers Selling Fake COVID-19 Antibody TestsAHA News: Sadness and Isolation of Pandemic Can Make Coping With Grief HarderVaping-Related Lung Injuries Still Happening -- And May Look Like COVID-19Most With Coronavirus Not Sure How They Caught It: CDC
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Diabetes

AHA News: Sadness and Isolation of Pandemic Can Make Coping With Grief Harder


HealthDay News
Updated: Jun 30th 2020

new article illustration

TUESDAY, June 30, 2020 (American Heart Association News) -- Nancy Kruh always figured that when her mother died, she would be by her side, holding her hand, a comforting, meaningful moment.

It didn't work out that way.

After a long illness unrelated to the coronavirus, Jan Kruh died in April. She was in Manhattan, Kansas, while her daughter quarantined in North Carolina and her husband of 72 years was only allowed to be with her during the final stages.

"The idea of her dying alone was really bracing and sad," said Nancy, a writer who lives in Nashville. "I was so grateful that two of her favorite people at her senior care unit were with her. Still, not being able to be there was just soul-sickening."

That heartache has confronted millions of people during the coronavirus pandemic as restrictions have separated dying people from family and friends, and prevented mourners from sharing their grief in person. The Kruh family is still unsure when and how to get together for a memorial ceremony.

"The isolation hits people very hard," said Rev. Victoria Long, a chaplain at the Suncoast Hospice in Pinellas Park, Florida. "There's a long way to go emotionally when you didn't get to take the journey with them along the way."

Long's hospice helps people cope with the end of life, as well as the bereavement that follows. Technology to connect people online is not the perfect substitute, she said, but it can be a tremendous help.

She recently arranged a video conference call so a woman in hospice care who had suffered a stroke and couldn't talk could see and hear her family.

"She would reach up and touch the different people on the screen," Long said.

Similarly, Long supervises memorial services and bereavement groups online. "Grief is a process, and if you haven't been there, it adds a layer to the pain," she said. "You have to know that it takes time, and you have to follow what brings you peace. I can't stress self-care enough."

Dr. Alan Koenigsberg, a clinical psychiatrist and professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, agreed.

"Even if you think you're prepared for grieving, we never really are," he said. "There's no quick fix. And when you add in the isolation we have now, a difficult time becomes much harder."

His advice for coping sounds simple, although he acknowledged it's easier said than done.

"Give yourself some structure," Koenigsberg said. "Get up in the morning, put one foot in front of the other, do the routine stuff that helps you get through the day. Try to get some exercise and a good night's sleep. And remember that grieving is a normal, healthy response."

Even in the best circumstances, sadness can lead to poor eating habits or alcohol and drug abuse, he said. Isolation increases those risks.

"Talk to people, ask for help if you need it," he said. "And please go get the medical care you need. So many people have held off getting care now (because of fears of catching the virus), they're showing up in emergency rooms in worse shape than they ordinarily would."

Long and Koenigsberg both stressed the importance of maintaining relationships – and the surprising value of virtual connections. Faith communities and support groups, for example, have adjusted to provide help virtually.

"People have created wonderful communities of support online," Long said. "It's different, but it's positive, and it shows me the importance of our ability to adapt."

That has been the case for Nancy as she copes with the loss of her mother and the physical distance from her father.

When she posted news of her mother's death on Facebook, she said, "My page exploded. I got hundreds of expressions of love and kindness, deep and sincere emotions despite the distance.

"It was like a virtual receiving line, and I've responded to every one. This is our human connection right now, and I'm grateful I had the technology to help me respond to my grief. It has made me feel loved, and at the moment, that's the most solace I could ask for."