Sue Ryder bereavement counsellor Lucy Nicholas speaks to The Hunts Post about grief in lockdown and the impact of not being able to say goodbye to someone.

“When someone dies it can feel very unreal and takes time for us to accept that they have died. Not being able to see the person who is dying or only being able to speak to them on the phone or video call, may make the situation more unreal for us, which in turn makes it more difficult to accept,” explained Lucy.

Sue Ryder says the level of emotional distress at not being able to be with a loved one in their final moments may be psychologically overwhelming and could lead to lasting trauma for some people.

Lucy also explains why funerals form such an important part of the bereavement journey for those left behind.

“Funerals can mean a lot of different things to different people. There are a wide range of practices across cultures but one thing that remains the same is some form of ritual marking the transition from life to death. These rituals can help us to accept the reality of the death.

“In usual times, we may be surrounded by others offering comfort. Now, if we have been unable to attend the funeral, it is another even more surreal experience for those who are bereaved. Funerals are often an opportunity for us to connect with the memories of a person’s life, a time and place to share stories and remember.”

The Hunts Post asked Lucy what Sue Ryder were most concerned about in terms of how people may be coping with bereavement in lockdown.

“Some of things that may bring us some comfort when we are grieving, such as meeting friends and family or other coping strategies such as going to support groups are not available to us right now.

“For the recently bereaved, the inability to have physical contact with people can be so very difficult, if families are not living in the same households they are currently not able to hug or hold each other. The very basic human need of feeling connected is being impacted for us all. Having to stand two meters away from a loved one who is sharing your grief can feel particularly cruel and difficult to bear.”

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For more on our support for Sue Ryder’s call for more bereavement provision.

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