Grieving from a Distance

Losing a loved one and having to start the grieving process while practicing social distancing, unable to meet with family or close friends, can create unique stresses. If a loss is not properly acknowledged, it can prolong and complicate the grief process. When a funeral service is not feasible, it is still so important to pay your respects and acknowledge the death. Below we’ve outlined a few ways to begin the grieving process.


Express sympathy

Your close family and friends who are also grieving will greatly appreciate an expression of sympathy – from writing a letter of condolence to making a donation to your loved one’s favorite charity. If the death is in the family, it is important to support those most closely related, whether it be a spouse, sibling or even your own parent who is facing the loss of their sibling. Consider giving them a memorial keepsake – something to demonstrate your sympathy. Even sharing a photo you have of the two of them together or talking to them on the phone asking them to share specific fond memories of their loved one can go a long way in expressing your sympathy.


Take care of yourself

In these unprecedented times, when you are unable to attend a funeral service, it is important to find outlets to acknowledge your own grief and to focus on self-care. By not physically attending a service, mourners are not able to be together in community. However, using technology to video chat, write an online tribute, read others’ messages, and more will help you. Know you are not alone. Be sure to take personal time to care for your own needs.


Don’t hide

As we all practice social distancing, it’s easier to hide now more than ever. Don’t! Let others in your life know what is going on. Call, chat, email, write a letter. It’s normal to feel uncomfortable when talking about your loss but it is worth the discomfort in order to stay connected and receive emotional support. They will understand and they will comfort and support you – let them!


Grieving is never easy, and having to do it from a distance can add additional stressors and pain. It’s important that we create a community culture of support for all those who are experiencing the loss of a loved one on top of dealing with this global crisis.

Share this article with your friends and family who may also be grieving the loss of a loved one. We are in this together.


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Deanna Clingerman


Deanna Clingerman, MSSA, LSW is an aspiring funeral director/embalmer with a lifelong interest in funeral service. She holds degrees in Psychology and Sociology from Youngstown State University and Masters of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University. After a rewarding career in Social Work, she attended Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science to realize her dream of becoming an embalmer and funeral director. She has worked in the Akron-Canton area for most of her funeral service career. She is the location manager and a funeral director for Cleveland Jewish Funerals.