Covid-19 killed my father and saved my life.
(A story about grief, loss and perseverance)
Written by Tamera Crenshaw, Founder of Tools for Success Counseling Service
May 8th 2020 was the day my mother, sister, and I dropped my father off at the hospital. With reluctance in all our hearts, we kissed and hugged him without hesitation and said goodbye.
The news was filled with stories of loved ones being unable to see their sick family members once they left them at the hospital doorstep, but we were unaware of the journey we were about to encounter. Dad tested positive for COVID-19 that evening, and the emotional roller coaster of having a family member not metabolically strong enough to win the fight against COVID-19 began.
Our journey included nearly three weeks of talking to nurses and doctors, prayers, tears, researching ventilation data, making decisions on experimental treatments, and hopes running high and low. On May 26th at 4:30pm my father took his last breath and let go. This was not my family’s first major loss, we had lost my older sister almost 30 years prior in a car accident.
Losing someone to Covid-19 compounds and complicates grief in a number of different ways. For my family it consisted of not having the ability to be by the side of your dying loved one and the lack of medical knowledge and limitations on treatment. We also struggled with the likelihood of having to experience the loss of your loved one while coping with the illness yourself. And additionally, the inability to process and memorialize the death of your loved one how you would traditionally like.
So how did Covid-19 save my life?
If nothing else I have learned during this pandemic, I’ve learned that the metabolically unhealthy are at greater risk. So I decided not to be a good host for the COVID-19 virus or any other illness. In the month of July 2020 I begin working out 3 days a week with a trainer, and making healthier choices.
I also decided to stop watching TV, limited my social media, and intentionally create habits to gain clarity and allow myself to grieve.
I allowed myself to cry when I needed to, listen to my father’s favorite songs, watch a memorial video the family made in his honor and process a world I never imagined (one without my dad).
I read bible plans, spent time with my family, learned to allow others to support me even with the social distancing requirements covid19 placed upon us, and continued to work which for me was healing and therapeutic.
I shifted my negative thoughts that were embedded in anger and resentment. I leaned into the positive thoughts of honoring my father’s legacy, and creating the success that had always made him proud. And while none of these coping skills and tools will ever bring my father back, my desire to live every moment full of purpose and love, was strengthened.
For others that have lost a loved one due to COVID-19, I send you healing energy and empathize with your loss. I encourage you to find the strength to endure and honor your loved one with a life well lived.
Tools for Success Counseling has clinicians that are skilled and trained to support those experiencing grief and loss. Contact us today for grief support.