There can be a strong spoken or unspoken feeling that certain deaths are more tragic than others. Whilst most people would agree that it is particularly shocking and heart-breaking when a child or younger person dies, every death can be a tragedy for friends and relatives left behind.
At times of national crisis like these people may feel that others consider some losses less worthy of sympathy. The media can exacerbate this by constantly mentioning that people who died had underlying health conditions or were over a certain age. It has been common for people to post messages on social along the lines that ‘if you’re young and healthy you’ll probably be fine’. Even if it was not the intention it can feel as if people are saying older and vulnerable people are worth less.
People may also feel that their own troubles are less worthy of attention, and feel guilty about asking for help and support. This can apply if they have been recently bereaved from an unrelated cause, and it can feel hurtful if everyone becomes too preoccupied with their own situation to offer as much practical or emotional support as they might at other times.
How to help yourself
Try to remember that while many people are struggling, it is OK to ask for help. Your own feelings are valid even if others are facing their own tragic circumstances. Talking about how you feel can help, as can remembering someone who has died and sharing memories. If your friends and family are unable to help, you can call the Cruse National Helpline.
If you are upset by media coverage it can help to take regular breaks from the news and social media.
How you can help other people
If you have a bereaved friend or relative try to remember them and stay in touch, even if they or you are isolating. In times where larger numbers of people are bereaved we can continue to support each other and remember that every bereavement is individual, and that every death which happens before its time is a tragedy.
Whoever you are talking to, try to remember that everyone who dies (whether of coronavirus or another cause) is likely to be someone’s loved one. The person you are talking to may be vulnerable themselves or have vulnerable friends and family.
How Cruse can help
- Our National Freephone Helpline remains open – call 0808 808 1677. Opening hours are Monday-Friday 9.30-5pm (excluding bank holidays), with extended hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, when we’re open until 8pm.
- There is a lot of additional information elsewhere our website.
- Our Local Services can also offer support mainly over the phone at the present time. Find the details of your Local Service at www.cruse.org.uk/get-help/local-services