How Can We Support Those Who are Grieving During Covid-19?

Hello!

My name is John Hunter I am from NYC… I have possibly a timely question because I am not really the professional at dealing with those in Bereavement. In particular, I have a co-worker names Yolanda who just lost her boyfriend a combination of Stroke and possibly CoVid-19 from staying in a nursing home. I knew about the stroke because when it happened she took off time to help him and she missed a lot of hours at work.

During the period of time at my job before the Quarantine became official, I had been inviting her to come to my church for a prayer meeting located in Downtown Brooklyn. I believe She had an encounter with God during this prayer meeting. I say this because, she received a prayer request card that mirrored her exact prayers for her, at the time, ill boyfriend. She became ecstatic and she immediately made me aware of this. After the prayer meeting she told me that she was depressed and she started to cry. Once she starts to cry I found one of the sisters in the church for her to talk to because I was just trying to play it safe and also it was During the time of the CoVid problem.

I prayed for her and called her during the quarantine. I would give her different verses and talk to her about God and telll her of God’s love. She said she didn’t really didn’t understand. I tried to listen and answer gently. I know she isn’t a Christian so I would listen and if she asked me questions about God i would do my best to give an answer to the best of my knowledge. I also share the Gospel with her. She didn’t necessarily respond but she said she was embarrassed when I told her that she could have a relationship with God and I tried to give her the easiest way to God which is in Romans 10:9 I believe. There are other details I have left out, but these details can tell you about the situation. One detail I need to include is that she went to the funeral home to see his body for the first time last night. A detail about her behavior is that She sleeps a lot to try and bypass the pain.

I have tried to give her space and time. I don’t know what to do professionally. Is there some type of action that I am missing out ? What should I know about bereavement? Are there books or other sources. I believe she is hurting to much to actually read during this time.

What are your thoughts and advice?

Thank you,
John

Hi John,

Wow, it sounds like Yolanda is really going through a lot of pain right now. It is apparent that you really care for her and that you would like to help. Times of grieving are very difficult under any circumstances, but it is particularly hard to suffer the loss of loved ones during this pandemic because of the emotional impact of social distancing.

I will point you in the direction of some resources, however these resources are mostly for you to digest so that you feel that you some tools to support you. The truth of the matter is that words often don’t help at times like these, especially when the grief is so raw. Often when we talk about the beauty of the Christian answer to the problem of pain, we point to how Jesus came to us to solve the root of all suffering, sin. Still today, through his presence we are comforted in our suffering and grief. For someone who does not yet know Christ, the body of Christ can be the physical presence in times of need. That being said, there are many variables to consider. With COVID19 regulations there will be limitations to how you or others can be available to Yolanda at this time. Also, it will depend on your depth of relationship as to how will be most appropriate to reach out to Yolanda. Many people need space after the loss of a loved one. Even though it seems that you were journeying with her in terms of faith, it might be best to give her the space she needs to wrestle with God on her own right now. This doesn’t mean that you should never bring up the topic of faith or apologetics, but you should probably put most of your efforts into prayer for her comfort and for her salvation. You can trust that God is still at work and that when she is ready to talk He will provide the opportunity.

Since you mentioned that she has been very emotional and embarrassed sometimes talking with you, it may be best if you reach out to some of the women in your church that had previous contact with her and ask if they would reach out.

Here are a few books to look up:

A Grief Observed C.S. Lewis

Walking with God through Pain and Suffering Tim Keller

A Sacred Sorrow Michael Card

Here is a link to RZIM.org with a search for resources on grief:

https://www.rzim.org/resources/grief

May you be comforted by the God of all Comfort,

Michelle

1 Like

Thank you so much!!

Some of the things that you suggested I did to an effect… but I like your response. I’m not really a person who uses a lot of words when I physically speak. And I would usually leave lots of time in between calling… but I just needed guidance! Thank you so much! I really appreciate your advice! I will also get those books. I will definitely be praying a lot though

God Bless you and be encouraged in your work for Jesus!

Thanks again!

John