I started bereavement counselling before the pandemic which was face to face in clients homes or in a venue. Come late march, I has switched to telephone support which while it was different, and not having that face to face contact, I felt as though it was important to still support clients in some way, especially now as there seemed to be excess deaths due to Covid-19. I think the fact that the Pandemic has cause so many excess deaths has caused excess anxiety and being in lockdown has lead to more loneliness in clients I have been supporting . I hear again and again from the clients I have had with the bereavement charity how lonely they are, how awful it is that they cant go and see ‘so in so’ down the road for a natter, or have a pint up the club with the boys. Many of my clients were members of a sporting team, or some kind of shared interest group like a choir or knit and natter for example. All of this stopped when the pandemic happened and bereaved people have been left isolated with their grief, instead of being able to get to a ‘restoration’ stage or start to grow around that grief as they are completely isolated with it. Some cemeteries have even been closed meaning people can’t visit a grave side, or memorial, and some people, particularly the elderly are too afraid to go out for fear of catching the virus meaning that they cannot visit these memorials either as they are too afraid, which often adds to guilt of their grief. Not having proper funerals, paying last respects or having a drink to celebrate the life of the deceased has also added to the complexity of the clients grief. Many clients spoke of this need to say goodbye and have a proper ending frequently in our sessions, as well as not be able to go out and learn to live with the grief. It was hard not to break Covid restrictions and give the client the face to face support that they needed. I noticed that there was also some discrepancies with the older clients that I supported. Some of them just didn’t have the technology to have a face time or zoom call, meaning that they were extremely limited to the contact that they could have with the outside world. Sometimes, a voice on the other end of the phone is all that they had.
Whilst I am continuing to support my clients through the charity and my own private clients through telephone support or zoom, I cannot wait to be able to get back in the room, face to face and do the work that I love… helping people achieve better days 🙂