Published on July 7, 2021

Part of Mindemic series

AHMEDABAD: It was an emotional moment for a Jeevan Aastha psychologist when a man in his late thirties poured his heart out. The caller told him that his wife of 17 years died due to Covid-19 infection and he is still to come to terms with the fact.

“They had started the process of adopting a child to complete their family. They were hopeful that they would be proud parents by the end of the year but she succumbed to the pandemic. Her husband was suffering from tremendous guilt, thinking that he could have hospitalized her earlier, detected Covid signs earlier and saved her life,” said a counsellor, adding that they counselled him that all was not in his hands, and her infection could have been fatal in any case.

As the pandemic ravaged many families, mental health experts in the city said that it would take a long time for many to come to terms with the demise of their loved ones. Many families lost more than one member, putting the survivors in abject despair.

Dr Hansal Bhachech, a psychiatrist, said that for many, the loss of a young life partner was too much to handle.

“Loss of those above 70-80 years of age is painful but one can come to terms with it due to age-related complications. But how can one explain the death of a 27- or 28-year-old youth who has been married for 3-4 years? What happens to the partner?” he asked. He said that many thus refuse to come to terms with the loss. In one of the cases, the family videographed the last rites as well as the collection of mortal remains to show the wife who refused to believe that her husband was no more. “Many also experience the presence of their loved ones in both positive and negative ways,” he said.

He said that the best way to deal with the loss is to immerse oneself in the activity one loves.

“If one ponders over it for a long period, the impact is more. It’s better to help others, socialize, and talk to those whom one you can pour your heart out – primarily to discuss the anxiety of living alone,” said Dr Bhachech, who is based in Ahemdabad.

Dr Nehal Shah, a psychiatrist from the city, said that there are different ways in which an individual deals with grief right from denial to anger.

“If it takes more than a month, it starts taking pathological dimensions,” he said.

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