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Grieving Online: How to Feel Connected When You’re Disconnected

Even as we’re still social distancing and living our lives online, it is still important to connect with your family and friends. Grieving online can be difficult and is a lot different from having physical, in-person support. Although a comforting touch, a helping hand, or a shoulder to cry on may not be as accessible during this pandemic period, you can still feel connected when you’re disconnected. Here’s how.

  1. Make a phone call: It sounds obvious enough, but within seconds you can meaningfully bridge the gap between you and a peer or family member who can support you during your grieving process. You don’t have to get dressed up (or even dressed). You don’t even have to or even leave your bed, if you don’t want to. Hearing another person’s voice can do a lot to make you feel heard or give someone an opportunity to feel heard.

  2. Send a text: A short, friendly text is a nice way to check up on someone who is grieving, and, on the flip side of that, receiving a check-in text from a close friend or loved one allows people to know that they are cared for and thought about. You’re still on your phone, possibly still in bed even, and in general having a text conversation allows you to be brief if desired and set up something a bit more suited to a longer form if you feel that it would help.

  3. Send an email: Because emails don’t always warrant an immediate response and are often used for business or professional communications, this is probably the most appropriate option for reaching out to a supervisor, colleague, or mentor who you know is grieving. People might expect a reply, which is a point against this method. But if the way you normally communicate is via email or if it would be awkward or difficult to say something out loud, this is likely to be your best option.

  4. Join a Zoom call: It’s hard to understate how much seeing and hearing can encourage empathy. Video chatting can help you to be able to better read other people’s emotions and feel that they are really feeling yours. Zoom is also great for support groups. The platform allows for many people to join a video call at the same time, and its rich features empower you to interact with small and large groups. A more formal gathering to mark someone’s passing can also be incredibly helpful, and a video call lets you include people on the other side of the planet.

  5. Mail a letter: This old school option can be more powerful and personal. Sending a hand-written letter to someone who is grieving will really let them know that your intentions are heartfelt and sincere. If you choose this option, don’t stress over whether or not your words are perfect. Just remember to be sensitive, offer words of encouragement, and let them know that they can count on you for support. This is an especially good option for older people who may not be as technologically savvy, but it’s worth considering at any age. Bonus: sending a comforting gift along with a message can sometimes help. Food is a classic for a reason, as nobody wants to have to worry about cooking while grieving.

Any of these options will help you and others feel connected even when, in some unavoidable circumstances, you’re also disconnected.


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