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By Roberto Miguel, BCC, PhD
Moffitt Chaplain

Certain times of the year, like special holidays or birthdays, present us with another challenge: taking care of those who are feeling sad because of the death of their loved one. They feel the pain more during these special times. Although grieving is by its very nature a lonely task, it requires the help of other people. The social distance caused by COVID-19 makes it hard, yet there are ways in which those who are grieving, their families and friends can overcome this difficulty.

If it is not possible to be physically present, do it virtually through video calls, phone calls, emails or send cards with words of love and affection. Plan to watch movies or have meals together even if you are in different places. For religious people, family prayers and virtual religious services can help. It is important to understand that feelings such as sadness and anger are normal after the death of a loved one, and it is not necessary to add guilt to these feelings. Welcoming such feelings is an act of kindness and compassion.

Providing time and space for the person to grieve can be done by making yourself available to listen and offering to help with daily tasks that the person finds to be more difficult. Shopping, doing the laundry or helping with cleaning are some ideas. Using delivery services to send them their favorite food is also a loving gesture.

Meeting virtually to remember the person who died and sharing laughter and tears can help make a person’s life into a cherished memory. If a funeral was not possible because of COVID-19, organizing a virtual memorial service may also be a good idea.

If you would like to talk with a chaplain, please call 813-745-2856. Learn more about our chaplaincy and spiritual care.