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The holidays might be harder this year for Central Floridians who have lost loved ones to COVID. Here are some tips for processing that grief.

Photo: Pixabay
Photo: Pixabay

Many people in Florida might be grieving the loss of a loved one to COVID over the holidays this year, with more than 60,000 people dead from the virus in the state.
AdventHealth Chaplain Juleun Johnson recommends taking some time out to honor the lost loved one's memory, as difficult or challenging as it may be. 

Johnson says one of the ways people can process their grief is by writing a letter to their family member or friend who passed away.

“You as the person writing the letter, it’s cathartic for you. And I believe that the whole purpose of grief is a process of catharsis and also being able to be reinstated and go back to normal.”

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Johnson says other practices like meditation, returning to houses of worship while practicing good COVID protocols, and participating in acts of service can also help alleviate grief in adults this time of year. 

AdventHealth Psychiatrist Dr. Luis Allen says as confusing as grief is for adults to process, it is especially so for children.

Allen makes a similar recommendation to take time out to remember and honor a lost parent, grandparent or teacher's life with the child. But he says it’s equally important to give kids the permission to celebrate and feel the joy of the season.

“And some individuals they need that. They need to be able to be allowed to feel happy during that time. And sometimes we are the ones that will be able to give them that key in order for them to do it.”

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Allen says people should seek medical attention if they have prolonged feelings of hopelessness, changes in sleep or diet, or apathy toward favorite activities. 

If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.
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