Understanding and Supporting the Complexity of Grief in our COVID-shaped World

COVID-19 has drastically changed our way of life, giving rise to grief on a global scale in response to illness and death, separations from loved ones, financial insecurity, losses of control, safety, imagined futures, and many others. Although lately these have been referred to as “unprecedented times,” many children and families have grieved similar losses in the context of their own serious illnesses, and during the SARS outbreak. The insights and stories shared by children, families and health care providers in previous research and clinical settings can help us understand and support the complexity of grief currently being experienced in our COVID-shaped world.​

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Funerals in the Time of a Pandemic: A Toolkit for Children & Families

Funerals are human activities. Funerals are our expression of grief and a transition into an unknown future without someone we love. Funerals may be most important to children because these rituals help them understand that someone is gone and what it means to be dead. During a pandemic, when large groups cannot gather or move freely or easily, funerals may need reconsideration. While seeing (or witnessing) the dead has significant value for many, this may not be possible for every family given the circumstances of the present moment. In order to reconsider what a funeral is and can be during a pandemic, we can look to its foundational elements (2020, GoodGrief).

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Canadian Virtual Hospice COVID-19 Resources

The team at Canadian Virtual Hospice has gathered links on COVID-19 that may be useful to people working in healthcare and to members of the public who are living with an advanced illness or who are caring for someone with an advanced illness (2020, CVH).

Click here: Canadian Virtual Hospice COVID-19 Resources

Talking to Kids About COVID19: Q&A with Andrea Warnick

Kids Grief Q&A is a program of Canadian Virtual Hospice, offering a monthly Q&A forum of trying to decrease barriers when families and professionals are trying to supporting children and youth who are grieving. This particular KidsGrief Q&A focuses on ‘Talking to Children About COVID-19’ and how to support children through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click here: Q&A with Andrea Warnick

At Home Grief Activities

Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre is proud to introduce their new video series Brief Grief Activities;. Each video has an activity that you can do at home to support emotional literacy, expression of grief and saying connected to your person. They are published every Friday at 1:00 pm on YouTube.

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COVID-19 Books for Children

The Story of the Oyster and the Butterfly: The Corona Virus and Me, Written by Ana Gomez (2020) 

Coronavirus – A Book for Children, Written by Elizabeth Jenner, Kate Wilson and Nia Roberts

I Have a Question About Corona Virus: Clear Answers for All Kids, Written by, Arlen Grad Gaines and Meredith Englander Polsky

Therapeutic Activities

What’s Your Worry

When a child is experiencing anxiety, whether due to a new situation, a change in a familiar routine, or more recently, worries about COVID-19, it can have an impact on their daily lives. These feelings can cause a change in sleep, eating as well as become overwhelming emotionally. This activity provides an opportunity for the child to share those anxieties and hopefully feel calmer. ‘What’s Your Worry’ can be used with a range of ages.

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