Grief is such a strange emotion, as I’m finding out first-hand. A kind of suffering that at times, can feel incredibly overwhelming and confusing. One minute you’re coping, the next you find yourself barely able to type up an email or take a call. Every day is a huge challenge, one of which unfortunately takes time to understand.
My Dad was a huge inspiration to me. I loved him so much. Those that see my social media posts know how much he meant to me and how much he encouraged me in life. I never wanted to disappoint my Dad and he was ultimately one of my biggest fans. I speak in the past tense as today marks 2 months since I lost my Dad to COVID-19. We didn’t get to visit him in hospital, say goodbye or even give him the funeral he deserved, because of the world we now live in. I still don’t think it’s completely sunk in as a result. But one thing’s for sure, life without him is very, very strange.
I’ve been on this a surreal rollercoaster ride since and while still on this journey of grief and healing, I now feel strong enough to put pen to paper and talk about how I’ve coped, in the hope it might help someone who finds themselves in a similar situation. Either that or help those who know someone who is grieving. If only in a small way.
We’re surrounded by COVID-19 news, it’s impossible to avoid. For most people, it’s hugely overwhelming but for those who have lost a loved one to this awful virus, those feelings are off the scale. Something that has helped me hugely over the last few weeks is having a space to talk to friends and colleagues where any talk of COVID-19 is avoided. At 505 Games, we have a group chat and an internal Discord server, where we’re encouraged to talk about anything and everything, except COVID-19. It’s a space where we can share funny memes, cute animal posts and basically just talk as a group of friends. We also use the space to organise gaming sessions together when time allows. (Games have helped me hugely over the last few months, more so than ever before.) Having a space where we can discuss the positive things in life has helped hugely. It’s a space that has had the power to make me laugh and smile on multiple occasions, which I’ll take as wins. I encourage you all to create a safe space for your friends, family, and colleagues. A space where any talk of COVID-19 is off the table. Give yourself a break from reality.
TALK TO THOSE YOU TRUST
It seems obvious but talking to those who are willing to listen has helped me stay afloat. Those that know me well know I’m a huge advocate for 121s in the workplace. An opportunity to talk openly and honestly about anything and everything, to someone who might be able to help if needs be. We’re all busy people, but it’s more important than ever to check in on those around you. The 505 Games family will probably hate me for highlighting them here, but I’m not sure how I would have coped without their support over the last 2 months. My ex-Line Manager and President in-particular have been incredible. They checked in on me on a frequent basis, even before the passing of my Dad. These calls helped me mentally, more than they’ll understand. I’m a strong believer as a Line Manager myself in giving your staff the time and space to talk about anything, regardless of whether it’s related to work or not. 121s build loyalty between staff and ultimately strengthen relationships. If you’re not doing these already in your workplace, I’d strongly recommend you consider them. They’re invaluable. Talking has been the best form of medicine in my case.
TAKE TIME OUT TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Allow yourself to take time out if needs be and overcommunicate with those around you so they know how you feel. Cry if you need to, log off your PC and step away from work temporarily if things get too much. I’ve had to, on multiple occasions. Thankfully 505 Games have been incredibly supportive in this whole thing and have given me the opportunity to heal. If you find yourself in a similar situation, you have to look after yourself. Now more than ever. Keep active but rest when you need to. This is so important. Don’t bottle anything up and please reach out for help if you need it. Take time to acknowledge the pain you’re going through. The grieving process has a number of stages, from denial, to anger, to acceptance. While I’m not at the acceptance stage yet, I know ultimately that’s where I’ll be one day. And if you’re also going through a similar situation, you will too!
We live in such uncertain times. Take care of yourselves and keep checking in on those around you. It makes the biggest difference.