Bereavement and Grief

Coping With Grief

The COVID-19 pandemic is not only a medical crisis, but also a psychological one. Many individuals have been forced to deal with the loss of their loved ones, their jobs, and their sense of security. But even individuals who have not lost something as concrete as a job or a loved one are affected. We, as a community, are grappling with the disruption of the education, economic, healthcare, and social systems that we depend on every day. Healthcare workers, specifically, have the added burden of supporting patients, clients, or residents they care for every day as they fight through, and sometimes pass away from, influenza, COVID – 19, or other causes. This has brought on a period of grief, a bridge between how things were and what they will become. As you continue to navigate this grieving period, here are a few key things to keep in mind:

Healthcare workers, specifically, have the added burden of supporting patients, clients, or residents they care for every day as they fight through, and sometimes pass away from, influenza, COVID-19, or other causes. 


Grief is Normal

Grief is a natural process that our minds and bodies undergo when we experience a significant loss in our life. It is evidence of the meaningful and loving connections we form with the people around us. Not only do we grieve when someone passes, we grieve experiences we don’t get to have, such as graduations, get-togethers, vacations, and non-essential medical procedures. It is possible that you may be grieving any disruptions that COVID – 19 has had on your life. Understanding grief can help you cope with the emotional responses you experience on a daily basis.

Stop Watch


Despite what people say about getting over “the first year,” grief has no timeline. The grieving process does not have a clear end date. Your grief journey may take longer than you or those around you expected, but it is important to remember not to rush the process. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to grieve. Even if you have experienced the same loss as another person, your journey through grief may not look the same as theirs, and that’s OK. The loss you have experienced will continue to be a part of your life overtime. There will be times when you think about, miss, and grieve that loss; It is a natural part of life. Overtime, grief begins to feel less raw and is replaced by memories that don’t hold the same painful emotions.


Social Connections and Support

As you navigate the grieving process, the social connections you have built and continue to build will become more important than ever. Having family, friends, and peers to share your feelings and thoughts with can provide you with a strong support system. Although the pandemic has significantly altered the way in which we interact with others, social media and technology provide a great way to connect with family and friends.


Self-Care and What You Can Do

There are a range of things you can do support yourself during this challenging time. The resources we have provided below are a great place to start as you navigate your grief journey. As you move forward, do what you can to maintain your normal routines and continue to keep in touch with family members and friends. You may also find it helpful to join a grief group to connect with other individuals who have also experienced a loss or to seek professional counselling.


Additional Support:

The BC Bereavement Helpline (BCBH) is a non-profit, confidential resource that provides compassionate listening and support for individuals coping with grief. Representatives from the BCBH can help connect you with the appropriate resources, support groups, and agencies. Call: 1-877-779-2223 Mon – Friday 9am to 5pm or Email:


Phone Line for Healthcare Workers

The Mobile Response Team is available to support the mental well-being and psychological safety of frontline healthcare workers who are experiencing distress and mental health concerns in response to COVID-19. Call: 1-888-686-3022 or Email:

Web Resources

For more information, we have compiled a list of resources to help you cope with grief.

Bereavement Information

Created by the Vancouver Home Hospice Team, this resource provides information on grief and bereavement. Although everyone’s journey is different, there are common themes that can help you with your grief.

Grieving the Death of Someone Close

This resource provided by Vancouver Coastal Health discusses some of the feelings you may go through when experiencing the death of someone close.

Ten Things to Know About Grief

This resource from Vancouver Coastal Health ten common themes about grief.