The duel in times of pandemic

The death of a loved one is one of the times in everyone’s life when the human need for contact becomes most evident.

There is no one right way to go through the grieving process or an adequate time frame to do it. For example, unexpected deaths or in complicated circumstances (accidents, suicides, missing persons), generally cause more difficulty in the development of the duel.

    But what is mourning?

    There are so many articles and information on what grief is and its phases, here I would just like to point out that grief is a normal process for what we went through when we lost a loved one and in which we have to adapt to a new reality. It is important to emphasize the normality of pain in the grieving processAs we live in a society that tolerates very little discomfort.

    We cannot avoid the emotional pain that we feel when we have lost someone important in our lives, there are no shortcuts or tricks not to suffer. Understanding the process and accepting it is the principle of emotional healing that can lead to transforming grief into a fulfilling and personal growth experience.

    The normal grieving process is not an illness, But the development of acceptance of loss. Depression and sadness are the usual emotions. Everyone feels this experience in their own way and subjectively feels the intensity of this pain. Family and friends will be able to share the expression and manifestation of this pain, but not what she is really feeling, let alone the magnitude.

    The normal grieving process becomes a roller coaster of emotions to varying degrees. You go from the disbelief of death to irritability, fear, frustration or confusion, all of which are normal, natural and healthy. It is also common to experience anxiety, tachycardia, nausea, fatigue, headaches, disinterest, and the desire to cry.. Dealing with these emotions and feeling pain is the key to overcoming grief, avoiding suffering while taking drugs or consuming alcohol and drugs is a big mistake.

      When the duel gets complicated

      Much research has been done in recent years on the risk factors that cause complications in the natural grieving process, known as complicated grief. This type of grieving is one in which the escalation reaches the level at which the person is overwhelmed, resorts to maladaptive behaviors, or ironically remains in this state without advancing the grieving process towards its resolution.

      The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in its fifth edition (DSM 5), calls it persistent complex mourning and is characterized by a continuous longing / longing for the dead, accompanied by intense grief and frequent crying and worrying. of the dead or of the road he died. These symptoms must persist for at least 12 months after the person’s death. (6 in children), even if this criterion must be put into perspective, because each person is different. What matters is each person’s level of suffering and whether they are seen as stuck in it.

        Kind of complicated mourning

        One of the world’s foremost grief experts, JW Worden, has proposed a distinction between four types of complicated grief:

        chronic duel

        Symptoms persist for yearsAnd one of the strengths of this type of grieving is that the person experiences the feeling of being incomplete.

        delayed duel

        In this type of bereavement, the characteristic symptoms appear months or even years after the death of the loved one. Sometimes this happens when the pain is too intense or when conditions force the person to stay strong and delay their pain..

        exaggerated duel

        Worden speaks of exaggerated grief when the symptoms are excessive and virtually prevent the person from leading a normal life.

        masked duel

        Problems arise, such as drug, drug or alcohol abuse, And that the person is unable to recognize that he has to do with the loss suffered.

        Differences between normal grief and pathological grief

        What differentiates pathological grief from normal is the intensity of the symptoms, the duration of the reaction and the onset of certain symptoms that do not occur during normal grief, Such as hallucinations or delusions.

        In the early stages of complicated grief, physical symptoms, such as insomnia, fatigue, and / or weight loss, usually predominate, but over time, emotional and psychological symptoms such as anger become more intense. and frequent., Anger and anguish, as well as despair or the desire to die.

        The duel in times of pandemic

        Tributes, funeral rites and farewells play an important role in the process of healthy mourning. Throughout human history, the need for an often shared time and physical space in which to show loss has become evident.

        In the horrific circumstances that afflict us today, where our family and friends are dying far away. When there is a very short period of time between diagnosis and death that prevents us from preparing for grief. Where we can’t give a last kiss, a last look, a last hug.

        In these circumstances it’s normal for us to be stuck in guilt like “should have done or said something else” or that anger (“damn government, they didn’t do everything necessary in the hospital”) or deep sadness (“I’m not going to stop suffering ever” ), prevent us from moving forward in reconsidering our life without a loved one.

        In these cases, we may develop pathological grief. and it is advisable to seek the advice of a grief therapist.

        How to endure delayed grief

        Finally, I would like to recommend some very useful guidelines for dealing with the loss of a loved one in these circumstances.

        Perform farewell rituals.

        You can set up a virtual meeting via Skype or WhatsApp and have a farewell, even if you can’t be together.

        Set a time and pay tribute to this person by telling anecdotes, Type on your social networks or, for example, light candles at the same time. You can create a group or create a page for that person and have each person write down their feelings, upload photos, and share their feelings.

        It is important to include people with functional diversity and children in these rituals, Explain the situation clearly and naturally, value everyone’s age and abilities, and how they can participate.

        If you don’t feel like sharing the loss together, it’s okay to do so more intimately or on your own. Write a poem, journal, or letter explaining how you feel or what you would say to that person. You can also draw pictures if you can’t find the words. Do it the way you feel best.

        Create a space in a living room for the memory. Choose a photo, decorate it as you like, with candles or flowers or even objects of that person. Whenever you need to, go to this corner and express yourself. Tell her what your life will be like from that point on, remember what you liked and say goodbye if you need to.

        Practice self-care

        After explaining the roller coaster we go through in a grieving process, we must keep in mind that we do not “get lost” in this process.

        Try to take care of your diet and rest times. Try to stick to your schedules and listen to your body, if you need to slow down, do it, allow yourself to recover, but don’t give up.

        Exercise, look for a job like cooking, reading, meditating and enjoying the sunlight on the balcony or window.

        It is normal for feelings of sadness or anger to arise, if you need to be alone or to connect with people who make you feel good, do it. You will surely receive calls from many people to offer your condolences and to take an interest in you. Give them directions and schedules.

        Seek help in dealing with your emotions, whether it is from family and friends or, if necessary, from professional grief psychologists. Telephone lines provided by the state (health center, red cross, police, etc.) can also be very useful.

        To finish, avoid overloading yourself with information that “contaminates” you, look for activities that relax you, Don’t make very big decisions and don’t demand too much.

        Allow yourself time to heal

        Remember that this situation will not last forever, and when this is all over, you can say goodbye face to face with all your loved ones.


        In this article, we wanted to emphasize the importance of carrying out the grieving process in the most natural and fluid way possible to avoid, as much as possible, a possible subsequent complication.

        It is known that in special circumstances like the ones we are experiencing, natural grief is more likely to become pathologicalSo anything we can do now to support this process will help us prevent a possible disorder. If you find that this situation is becoming too complicated for you or your loved ones and that the resources available to you are not sufficient, do not hesitate to seek the help of a grieving psychologist.

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