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Opinion: How you can grieve the loss of a loved one to COVID-19 when you couldn’t say goodbye

Dear Potato News Today readers: The following heartfelt and deeply moving and very human story, written by Jeboah Miranda, is not in itself directly related to the global potato industry at all, but it is still for sure related to the harsh reality of the times we all live in today – amidst the chaos caused by the current global pandemic brought about by the COVID-19. virus

Somewhat similar to what I believe Robert Goulet tried to communicate in his “age-old” pop song when he sang: “We hear, we touch, we talk too much of things we have no knowledge of. We see, we feel, yet can’t conceal how small we are, how little we know….” (Any of you who are interested can listen to the song on YouTube here. Or for all folks who are closer to my age, the Batchelors’ sang it also – listen on on YouTube here).

I’ve decided to re-publish Jeboah’s story here on our potato site with this in mind then. And because so many of us live – and feel to a larger or lesser extent – the harsh reality of loss brought about by a global pandemic that we have no control over yet, and during these crazy and unprecedented times we all live in today, I believe it is appropriate to re-publish this article here.

The author of this piece, Jeboah Miranda, is a Global Keynote Speaker on Mental Toughness and Branding for SMBs and Digital Marketing for SMBs. She is the Host of In Her Blazer podcast, and she is the founder of the Jeboah Miranda Foundation.

This very human and sad story – although uplifting all the same, was first published in the Calgary Herald in Canada. Here goes then… [Lukie Pieterse, Editor of Potato News Today]

It was warm out. The taste of salt in the air. Waves crashing and a breeze sweeping through the night like a gentle hug. This is what I remember in the moments preceding the sound of a crack in the universe, my universe. I was 16 and just celebrated my birthday in the tropics.

I felt grateful and excited for the new age, that was, until I was told my brother Ricardo took his own life and I was nowhere near him to at least pretend like I would have been able to change the outcome.

Although I did not lose my brother to COVID-19, I did have my last goodbye stolen from me along with the false sense of control that we think we have in situations like these that we really don’t.

Confused, alone, angry and sad, I was left to pick up the pieces of a tragedy I never expected to face. I decided to throw myself into philanthropy to help others save themselves from making a similar, grave mistake, and I felt like slowly, slowly I was healing the hole in my heart.

Then came the second crack — my brother Isaac took his own life one year after my first brother, and this time the healing wasn’t so pretty.

Like you, I tried to make sense of a situation that just didn’t make sense. I played the “if only …” game, that really doesn’t leave anyone feeling uplifted or full of confidence. I was sad, extremely sad, and had to figure out how not to be — all the time.

I put myself through university studying psychology and business to try and figure out the world. I had a corporate career in marketing working for companies like General Electric and Newell Brands, and then I ventured out on my own to become a Global Keynote Speaker on Mental Toughness, to host In Her Blazer podcast and to start the Jeboah Miranda Foundation to help girls who have been affected by suicide get a university education and learn how to cope.

Although a virus didn’t rob me of a person I loved deeply, like the more than 100 people who have lost their lives to this in Calgary alone, it did leave me in the same state of grief as you.

I had no choice but to teach myself how to cope with these tragedies so that I could have a small chance of achieving a normal life; and because I truly learned how to do this, I want to encourage all of your to try the following to begin to grieve your loss:

1) Start with forgiveness: forgive yourself for the outcome that you could not have ever changed. The pain of this loss alone is unbearable and what you need right now is forgiveness so that you can truly grieve your loss, free from shame;

2) Allow yourself the room to grieve: and when I say “room to grieve,” I mean to really grieve. Give yourself permission to feel whatever you are feeling, for as long as you need to. If you’re scared that you may lose yourself in the emotions and drown, know that you won’t and as a safeguard, put time limits on how long you will allow yourself to cry, to be angry, to check out, etc. that day, so that you can feel safe, while healing through feeling;

3) Exercise patience: know that the grieving process is long and ugly, and it is also perfectly healthy. Accept that this will be a process and your emotions will change over time.

When I grieved the loss of my two brothers, I went through all of the emotions, and not in any order. But by allowing myself and yourself to truly grieve and accept what is, you can heal and bring the person you loved along with you.

Just because they aren’t physically here anymore, doesn’t mean they’re gone – you just have to find a new way of incorporating them into your life. And you will...

Jeboah Miranda is a Global Keynote Speaker on Mental Toughness, Branding for SMBs and Digital Marketing for SMBs. She is the Host of In Her Blazer podcast and she is the founder of the Jeboah Miranda Foundation.

Original story published in the Calgary Herald here: Calgary Herald

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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