On grieving the loss of loved ones due to COVID-19

By Wala’ Muiz

GOMBAK, 14 August 2021: COVID-19 cases have spiked beyond expectations reaching up to 21,000+ cases as of 12 August 2021, causing many deaths.

A lot of people are losing their loved ones and having a hard time coping, both mentally and emotionally. The circumstance became a topic in a talk show under the #YouMatter project of the sixth edition by IIUMTV to unravel the journey of those who have specifically experienced witnessing someone they love dying because of COVID-19.

The guests who had been invited to discuss the topic were Dr. Nur Sakinah, a medical doctor, Miss Masturah, an IIUM counsellor and Fifa Azam, a speaker from ML Studio. The host of the programme was Najwa Azmi, a member of the IIUMFM club.

The conversation had become somehow desolating and depressing as the audience was given a trigger warning in regards to incoming discussions about losing loved ones due to COVID-19.

Despite the stories shared about losing both sister Fifa’s and Dr. Nur Sakinah’s family members because of COVID-19, it had been an insightful and inspiring sharing session in encouraging the audience to become strong and ‘our own heroes’ in a conflicted world of a crisis, as pointed out by Dr. Nur Sakinah.

One of the effects of living in a pandemic for a long time is being afflicted by constant worrying, according to Masturah. We may conclude that we have come to our breaking point as we start to feel as if we are drowning and not seeing light at the end of the tunnel while witnessing the rising cases of COVID-19, she said.

This is to highlight the seriousness of the disease and that it is not a made-up conspiracy theory but a very real and impactful type of virus.

Bits of advice had also been given about the guests’ respective coping mechanisms as well as the measures that can be taken to avoid contracting the virus and endangering others.

“We can never move on, we can only move forward. The pain will always be with us. It’s how we channel the intensity of the pain,” said Dr. Nur Sakinah.

Being someone who is adequately exposed to the experience of family members contracting the virus with overlapping exposure, Dr. Nur Sakinah expressed that feeling tired because of it would be an understatement.

Each of them came to the terms that COVID-19 is real and not something to joke about which is important as a constant reminder for the audience.

A few Islamic perspectives had also been coined by Masturah in regards to those who have experienced losing their loved ones including how Allah SWT allows us to learn our lessons and avoid feeling regretful and guilty but rather look at it from a positive angle to turn things around with how we treat our current loved ones.

Some other comforting words were also said when Masturah highlighted that in Islam, one’s relationship with others is not solely limited to physical contact but also in a spiritual way.

Dr. Nur Sakinah and Fifa, both having experiences of losing their loved ones due to COVID-19 gave reminders to take care of social distancing and wear a mask as well as to not visit the graveyard unless out of urgency.

Dr. Nur Sakinah also pointed out the incompetency of the authorities in taking care of the crisis and that they are not doing crisis management at an optimal level where many improvements must be done.

Too much political interference will cost many lives without us realising, said Dr. Nur Sakinah. The concern was followed by some advice to equip selves with an ample amount of empathy and common sense to follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and not to cut ourselves short.

Although the state of COVID-19 has all the reasons to be worrisome, the guests’ spirit was leaning towards becoming strong together and allowing ourselves to grieve. “Please take the vaccine and educate yourself about COVID-19,” Fifa said as she ended her speech.***

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