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Understanding Grief, Loss, and Bereavement

Grief, loss, and bereavement are the inevitable truths of life. As long as there is life, there will always be death. The emotions of grief and secondary losses accompany the death of a loved one.

Everyone has to face these cruel realities of life at one point or another. Coping with the loss of a loved one is one of the most heart-wrenching experiences in life; losing a spouse, parent, sibling, or beloved friend can be intense.

"The pain of grief is just as much a part of life as the joy of love; it is, perhaps, the price we pay for love, the cost of commitment."

English psychiatrist Colin Murray Parkes

Your relationship with the person who died, the circumstances of the death, cultural and religious experiences influence your reaction to grief. These factors combined are what makes grief unique.

One thing that you, as a bereaved person, may need to learn as you journey through your grieving process is to learn how to carry this pain of grief while moving forward with your life.

We gain a sense of understanding through information. Understanding how grief, loss and bereavement affect your circle of life and how to cope is essential to your healing.

This article isn't only for someone grieving the death of their loved one. It is also for anyone in their support bubble, i.e., friends, families, etc.

 

This article aims to bring you comprehensive information to help you understand grief, loss, and bereavement to gain a sense of control and be in a better position to provide others with bereavement support.

Grief is a natural response to loss. This loss is further classified as:

  • Physical, which involves the loss of a loved one, i.e. spouse, parents, child, etc., or someone you shared a close bond with.

  • Life events, such as divorce.

  • Occupational, which involves losing your job or financial status, etc.

1. What are the symptoms and complications that COVID-19 can cause?


Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure: fever, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat.




2. When can I get tested?


To be tested, you need to comply with several criteria. If you experience the symptoms of the coronavirus, call the national Call Center (2800101) and the professionals will assess and inform you if you meet the criteria for testing. If this is the case, you will be provided with further instructions. If you are not being tested, this means that you do not comply with the criteria.




3. Why is preventive testing not done?


Because it is not effective; it gives information on a specific point in time and the likelihood of a positive test result in the absence of symptoms is very low. Furthermore, because of testing capacity, only those complying with specific criteria will be tested. There is a sufficient amount of tests available for those complying with the criteria.




4. What are the criteria for testing?


The criteria for testing is adapted in accordance with the developments surrounding the virus. At the moment, the criteria for testing include the following:
A patient with acute respiratory illness (cough or shortness of breath or sore throat)
AND one or more of the following (3) criteria:

  1. with a travel history during the past 14 days (prior to onset of symptoms)
  2. OR who has been in close contact with a confirmed case during the past 14 days (prior to onset of symptoms)
  3. OR who has had repetitive close contact (within 1 meter) with anyone with a travel history during the past 14 days (prior to onset of symptoms)




5. Can a person test negative and later test positive for COVID-19?


A negative result means that the virus that causes COVID-19 was not found in the person’s sample. In the early stages of infection, it is possible the virus will not be detected. For COVID-19, a negative test result for a sample collected while a person has symptoms likely means that the COVID-19 virus is not causing their current illness.




6. When do I need to go in quarantine?


You need to go in quarantine if you recently travelled abroad, or if you are instructed to do so by the Department of Public Health. The latter may be because you have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.




7. How long should I stay home if I have coronavirus-like symptoms?


If you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started.
If you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for 7 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.




8. Can I work if I have a bit of a cough?


If you feel sick, stay at home. If you have travelled from abroad during the past 14 days, had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 during the past 14 days or had contact with a traveler during the past 14 days, stay at home and call the Call Center (2800101). If none of these criteria apply to you, you can go to work. Regardless, take the necessary preventive and hygienic measures.




9. I am a resident and I just arrived from abroad, what do I need to do?


You need to go in a mandatory quarantine at home for 14 days. If you develop coronavirus-related symptoms, contact the Call Center on 2800101.




10. If I am sent home (in quarantine) because I have travelled from abroad, can my employer take vacation days off me?


No, this is not allowed. If you have been sent home in quarantine by the Department of Public Health or when travelled from abroad, the SvB will cover your days of absence as if you are sick.




11. Can I go to the beach, walk outside in nature, go to gatherings and other social events?


Maintain social distancing. As an individual, you can lower your risk of infection by reducing your rate of contact with other people. Avoid public spaces and unnecessary social gatherings, especially events with large numbers of people or crowds. If you are alone, you can go to the beach and walk outside in nature.




12. Will there be consequences for those who do not obey order for quarantine or isolation?


The consequences of not obeying the order for quarantine and/or isolation can be catastrophic for Aruba since those who defy the instructions can be a source of contamination for others. It is the civic duty of each and every citizen to respect and comply with these orders.




13. Who is at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness?


Older adults, people with underlying medical conditions (heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, HIV). Therefore, they are recommended to self-quarantine as a preventive measure.




14. What is the risk for pregnant women?


We do not currently know if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public nor whether they are more likely to have serious illness as a result. Pregnant women experience changes in their bodies that may increase their risk of some infections. Pregnant women have a higher risk of developing severe illness with viruses from the same family as COVID-19, and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza. It is always important for pregnant women to protect themselves from illnesses.




15. I have not been in direct contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, but I have been in contact with people who have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, should I get tested or go in quarantine?


Since they are not considered close contacts of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, they are not sent in mandatory quarantine. However, they may decide on their own to self-quarantine as a preventive measure. This cannot do any harm.




16. I live in a house with a person that has been sent into quarantine, can I leave the house?


You can leave the house if you have maintained yourself (yourselves) to the follow rules:

  1. Sleeping in separate bedrooms.
  2. Using separate areas. If you are sharing the same space, clean this area regularly.
  3. Maintain “Social Distancing” with a minimum of 2 meters (6 feet) distance from each other at all times.
  4. Keep your house as open as possibel.





Understanding Grief FAQs

"What we have once enjoyed we can never lose; all that we deeply love becomes a part of us."

Helen Keller

Coping with Grief Tips

How to cope with grief after the death of a spouse/ loved one?

Losing a spouse/loved one is one of the most heart-aching experiences one goes through in his/her life. It's an overwhelming burden of uncertainty and confusion.

 

These are some tips that may help ease your pain:

 

Give yourself space: 

So, it's natural to feel confused, overwhelmed and lost. Allow yourself to mourn, as it will help you express your pain and is an essential part of healing.

Everyone has their unique way of grieving: 

Try not to compare your grief with someone else's grief, so take each day as a baby step to grieve at your own time.

Share your feelings: 

Let everything out of your heart and allow yourself to speak your heart out. You can do this through any combination of the list below: 

  1. Lean on to your support network/system of family and friends to share your feelings and memories of your loved one. 

  2. Become a part of a grief support group, share your experience, feelings and share mutual support for each other. 

  3. You may seek the professional help of grief counsellors or therapists if you’re struggling to cope.

 

Be ready for mixed up emotions: 

There will be times where you will be overwhelmed with feelings of confusion, pain, grief, regret and anger. Don't be too hard on yourself by ignoring self-care or blaming yourself continuously for death. 

All these overwhelming emotions are a part of the grieving process and a natural reaction to grieving the death of a loved one.

 

Be compassionate towards yourself: 

 

Respect what your body and mind are telling you and accept those limits. Get rest, take a healthy diet, and lighten your schedule.

Treasure the memories: 

 

Share the memories of good times, bad times, and keep them close to your heart. They are the legacy of your spouse that will always be a part of your heart.

Grief is a journey: 

Remember, grief is not an event but a process that takes time. Be kind to yourself and respect your limits. Take one step at a time and gradually move forward.

Supporting Someone Bereaved

What advice/tips would you give to a grieving person? How can you speed up the grieving process?

Grieving and mourning a loved one is a very tragic yet inevitable experience of life. Grief will take the time it needs, as it can't be accelerated or pinned according to a map. 

The time also varies based upon your connection with the loved one and the circumstances of your loved one’s death. We all need help to move on from grief.

 

Therefore, as a friend, I would advise you:

Face the new normal: 

Unless you accept the sad reality of the tragedy you have gone through, you cannot move on in life and recover from it. 

You will be stuck in the same loop for days and years, asking yourself, "Did that just happen!" But why me? This can't be happening.

Drugs won't help: 

It's also worthwhile to notice, suppressing one's emotional pain with external sources like drugs, sleeping pills, or alcohol never works. 

You are merely deceiving your brain with chemicals that can have adverse effects in the long run. Sure, drugs and alcohol can ease the pain for a while, but they merely envelop the pain, not end it. 

Whenever you are going to remove the envelope, the letter's message will be the same. By resisting your emotions, you'll be engaged with an inner-conflict with yourself that might destroy your peace of mind.

Invest in healthy relationships: 

Know that we, as humans, are social beings , and you can't expect to get through grief alone. You need someone to share your grief, someone to lend you a helping hand when you are at your lowest.

Conclusion

In this article, I covered all the basic concepts regarding grief, loss, and how to cope with the loss of a loved one.

 

I discussed how healthy and incomplete grief affects a person, why healthy grieving is essential, and the stages of grief. 

This article also includes tips, ideas on how to deal with grief and provide grief support to your loved ones.

 

Hopefully, these tips will help you on your journey to healing and wholeness. Keep sailing until you reach the shore. There is a new journey once you arrive.

Bereavement Peer Support Group

The support group aims to create a safe space to share stories, experiences and receive mutual support amongst peers who have experienced a similar loss on their journey to heal, find hope and thrive

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© 2021 by Balanced Wheel