Students try to cope as COVID claims family members

A sympathy rose. Photo courtesy: Social mettle

Even in normal circumstances, the loss of a loved one is tough to take. But stress and uncertainty may increase feelings of grief and sadness in the midst of the coronavirus epidemic.

Furthermore, as we continue to take steps to slow the spread of the virus, many of the traditional ceremonies that respect a person’s life and recognize their passing may change. This can make adjusting to life without that individual more challenging.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve; everyone grieves in their own unique way. Understanding and sharing some of the feelings you may be experiencing can go a long way toward assisting you in coping.

Shamaya Jacobs, a junior animal science major at Florida A&M University, says this has been the worst year for her and her family. She has lost a total of 10 relatives since the start of this pandemic.

“The worst part about losing my relatives was, I wasn’t able to visit them in the hospital to express my feelings and say my final words and have a normal funeral,” Jacobs said.

Ryan Bellamy, a biological and agricultural system engineering major, says this past summer has been the toughest time of his life, losing both of his parents and grandmother to COVID-19.

“You’re never really prepared to lose the three most important people in the world to you,” Bellamy said. “Your parents, who brought you into this world and for me, my grandmother. They’re here to teach you about life, protect you and watch you grow. Losing not one of my parents but both of them and my grandmother feels like my heart was ripped out of my chest,” Bellamy said.

If you know someone who has been affected by COVID-19, you can be a great source of support for them. Call, text, email or video chat with them on a regular basis. Even if they don’t feel like answering, they’ll know you care and are there for them. You can also send a card or care box, write a meaningful message, or order groceries or other necessities for them online.

Sometimes, these emotions can be so intense they represent an emergency. If you feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next or if you’re thinking about hurting yourself or someone else, seek immediate help.

In an emotional crisis, get immediate help by calling the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990, or call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.