Eva Carlston Academy
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Overcoming Grief and Loss During COVID

Grief and loss is a complicated thing. On one hand, there is the physical loss of a loved one that we’ve experienced during this pandemic, but, on the other hand, there is another loss that we’ve all experienced in different ways. For some it was career opportunities, housing, or specialized projects. For students it was the loss of a public graduation and celebration, social connections with friends, school clubs, personal freedoms such as going to the movies on a Friday night or having fun at the arcade to blow off steam. 

The losses that our students experienced were volunteer opportunities, community building, family visits, and so much more. COVID-19 has affected us in more ways than one and learning how to handle grief and loss is part of the healing process.  

Grief, Loss, and COVID 19

Our students at Eva Carlston Academy have seen the ups and downs that the pandemic has thrown at us first hand. Typically, our facility is able to enjoy volunteer opportunities, community events, and partnered outings. Although, during COVID-19 we were unable to participate in our usual activities. 

We use these events to help increase social skills, social interaction, build a sense of community, and give our students a much needed break from their typical routine. The loss of these social experiences were devastating to our students as they were navigating through an already challenging time. 

Eva Carlston students experienced an overall lack of social support and meaningful connections that were provided through the community and our partners. Our students are still recovering from the loss of missed connections and building those important and integral interpersonal connections. Additionally, our incoming students have been increasingly academically behind due to remote learning and school closures. In this, we’ve ensured that these students are getting back on track to graduate. 

How To Process Loss

Nothing is wrong with mourning what could have been. It’s natural to feel an overwhelming sense of sadness, anger, frustration, and more when going through the loss of a particular future or opportunity. Grief and loss for students was seen in lack of milestone experiences and social gatherings that increase mood and help overcome trauma. 

Naming and claiming our grief is one of the ways we’ve taught our students to overcome their losses. Whether that be a loved one or something else, the grieving process can act in the same degree as the other. The American Psychological Association stated that this method is “…An organized way of taking action to help people cope with their losses, whether that’s their jobs, relationships, sources of self-worth, self-efficacy or other.” Identifying the grief is natural and helps us put the loss into words that can be expressed aloud, rather than internalizing the strong emotions that are felt during a loss. 

The importance of strong grief and loss coping skills can help us through difficult times and brace us for any future hurdles we may have to jump over later on. Embracing the feelings that come to us during this challenging time is how we can begin the healing process. It’s important to note that everyone’s timeline is different. Not suppressing your emotions and truly feeling everything may be painful, but is a key part in giving yourself a chance to mourn. 

Grief and loss is something that is unavoidable in life, and for some it may happen sooner than others. Regardless of the time frame of the loss, learning healthy ways to cope with our loss can allow us to grieve in a productive manner and allow us to mourn. At Eva Carlston, our students have gone through hard times and providing them with the information they need to create safe spaces for themselves is something that they will carry with them throughout their lives.