In coping with grief and fear prompted by the current pandemic, we can help ourselves by realizing we have a great deal to be grateful for. (Pixabay image)

Column: Dealing with grief and fear during the COVID-19 pandemic

Opening Our Eyes by Nan Dickie

By Nan Dickie


Each of us has experienced a very wide range of emotions in the past six months, beginning with worry and anxiety, no doubt leading to stress, all in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We quickly became overwhelmed by new and frightening information.

In the past several months, scientists, researchers and public health officials have learned a great deal about the virus and how it’s transmitted. We, as individuals, try to make sense of what we hear and see, which changes daily. It’s enough to make our heads spin.

Amidst all that is going on out there in the world, it’s important to step back from it now and then, and ask what the emotional effect of this ongoing pandemic has been on us personally.

Our emotional responses and reactions to this incredible upheaval in our lives are very complex and, perhaps, confusing, as we are in a never-before situation.

Two emotions that we all are experiencing, if we are truthful with ourselves, are grief and fear.

It may be tempting to try to run away from feeling them, but doing so only allows them to fester and spread within us, just as the virus spreads like wildfire outside us.

There are concrete ways for us to cope with our grief and fear. First, we need to accept that each of those emotions is a natural response to the pandemic.

Read more: Column: What we are now experiencing is grief

Read more: Column: Making the most of this new normal

Grief is comprised of other emotions such as anger, frustration and sadness. We need to name, face and experience these emotions in order to work through them. Grief is not a one-time event; it’s a process. So we have to get used to it.

We can share our grief, and realize we are not alone with it. We need to adjust as well as we can to the losses we have named, and may continue to experience. No small task.

Similarly with fear, we need to name what we are afraid of. Most blatantly, we fear getting the virus, or that someone close to us may do so. We must accept that the risk is not nil.

On top of this, we may fear another lockdown and the dreaded second wave.

We may have other, more subtle fears, such as fearing our lives might stagnate given all the necessary restrictions placed on us, or fearing we will never be able to truly connect with our friends and loved ones in a carefree way again.

While we experience grief and loss, we can help ourselves by realizing we have a great deal to be grateful for. COVID has not hit B.C.’s Interior hard, partly because most people are being diligent in following prescribed protocols. For the most part, people do consider the common good. These are things to be very grateful for.

Nan Dickie is a local author, speaker and former facilitator of a Salmon Arm depression support group.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ahead of the provincial election on Oct. 24, Enderby residents put their questions to the Shuswap riding’s three candidates: Greg Kyllo for the BC Liberal Party, Sylvia Lindgren for the BC NDP and Owen Madden for the BC Green Party. The candidates recorded their answers in videos distributed by the Enderby and District Chamber of Commerce. (Salmon Arm Observer image)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Shuswap candidates answer Enderby’s top election questions

The candidates submitted video responses for an all-candidates forum ahead of the Oct. 24 election

Shuswap BC NDP candidate Sylvia Lindgren reports several campaign signs have recently been damaged or removed. (Jim Elliot-Salmon Arm Observer)
Shuswap BC NDP candidate says campaign signs stolen and damaged

Sylvia Lindgren says with pandemic, signs are more important to candidates this election

Curtis Sagmoen
Public warning issued to North Okanagan sex trade workers

RCMP warns workers to stay away from Salmon River Road area

From left, city workers Hugh Bennett, Chris Carr and Teneal Crossman secure the fountain they’ve just removed from McGuire Lake on Oct. 21, 2020 before the ice moves in. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Salmon Arm fountain disappears along with summer

No more fountain in McGuire Lake as winter preparations begin

Two pigs roam the Salmon Arm Walmart parking lot during a prior visit photographed by Danielle Burgi. (Danielle Burgi photo)
Pigs trot over for a visit at Salmon Arm shopping centre

Employees say this was the second drop-in from the temporarily free-range porkers

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Kelowna Capital News)
B.C. Labour Board orders Peachland cannabis company to reinstate laid-off employees

The B.C. Labour Relations Board determined the employees were laid off due to their plan to unionize

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Penticton law courts. (Black Press file)
Osoyoos man in court for alleged shooting

The Oct. 11 shooting left a man with non-life threatening injuries

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Princeton man on motor scooter refuses to provide breath test to police

The scooter did not have a license plate and was not insured

The Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP located a hidden compartment in a vehicle, leading to a significant drug seizure, police said in a media release Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. (RCMP photo)
Vernon RCMP find illicit drugs in hidden vehicle compartment

Police seized 4 kg of methamphetamine from a Jeep involved in a violent hit and run March 24

Most Read