As the novel coronavirus continues to spread, families all over Southern California are being affected in many different ways, especially those who are losing loved ones to the virus. Grief counselor Arvis Jones, tells Inside the Issues there are some differences with losing loved ones during these times of social distancing.
“The differences are the fact that we can't do any of our social things that we do with the funerals and being there when the person dies and it's also the fact that our nurses and doctors are happy to take the place of family members at someone's deathbed, that's totally different than we normally see,” she said.
Jones’ niece is a nurse, and she talked to her about what it’s like being that one in the room when someone dies.
“This is not a family member, but you're calling as a nurse means that it's good that you're there with them since no one else is,” she said. “So I just talk to them about what their strengths are in their helping profession. I just kind of give him a pep talk because you can't take away the trauma, the pain, all of that.”
She said a lot of times when family members can’t be by a loved one’s side when they pass, they often feel guilty about not being there.
“I don't want to get spooky but I will tell you in my 25 years of working with grief, and even with my own family members in therapy, I've had so many experiences where someone will say as they're making their transition, especially when I've been in hospice, they will start talking to family members who have died before them,” she said. “Your loved one is always with you, whether it be in your heart or in your soul, or you dream of them. The next best thing is just to know they didn't die alone. And many times they will say goodbye to a loved one, who’s not with them, like their daughter, their son, and they’ll say ‘tell Jenny I love her and goodbye’ and so we just have to do those kind of things because when you can't change it, you have to learn how to cope with it.”
Jones also advises against hiding photos or anything that reminds you of your loved one. “Memories are painful at first, but they become comforting.”
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