Coping with grief and loss during a pandemic

Aug 3, 2021, 5:53 PM | Updated: 8:52 pm


ROTC cadets perform military funeral service for high school instructor Senior Master Sergeant Morgan Hager. (KSL-TV)


SALT LAKE CITY —  Someone you know lost a friend, family member or co-worker and is coping with grief during the pandemic. You want to reach out, but is it too soon? What do you say? What if you say the wrong thing? Do you rush in and provide comfort or stay back and give that grieving person their space?

Coping with grief starts with acknowledgment

Dr. Kristin Francis, a psychiatrist with Huntsman Mental Health, shares advice on dealing with loss with KSL NewsRadio’s Dave & Dujanovic.

Francis said start by acknowledging the person’s grief by saying something like:

  • “I don’t have the words right now,”
  • “There are no words to convey my sorrow at your loss,” 
  • “I can’t imagine what you’re going through” or
  • “I want you to know that I am here.”

Being there to share

She also said keep showing up for the grieving person — by text, phone or in person.

“And recognizing that someone else’s grief process may look very different from your own,” Francis said.

Opening up to grief

Host Dave Noriega said he lost his father in his early 20s and his reaction was to shut others out.

“Is there anything I can do to let people in?” he asked.

Francis said opening up emotionally for bereaving people can be especially difficult if they were raised not to talk openly about their feelings.

She recommends naming the feeling you are experiencing in grief, then acknowledging the feeling in a public or in a private way.

“Finding someone that you can connect with, even if you can say, ‘I don’t have the words. I’m just really beside myself right now’ or ‘I’m really angry’ or ‘I don’t know what to say.’ That’s a great place to start so that you aren’t shutting yourself off,” Francis said.

She said another important part of grief management is letting the people in your life know what you need.

Francis also advised keeping your responses and reactions from the person who is grieving. 

“It’s even OK to say, “Look, I’m so sorry. I feel so awkward. I don’t always know what to do, but I want to let you know, I’m here, I care,'” she said.

Lastly, Francis recommends asking permission to follow up with the grieving friend, family member or colleague. If they say no, respect that, she said.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, a.s well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Dave & Dujanovic

pay gap...

Curt Gresseth

Why is the gender pay gap not closing?

The gender pay gap in the U.S. and Utah is not closing. A Utah financial planner details the impact that wage shortfall can have on a women workers over a career.

2 days ago

a hockey stick shown, utah may get a nhl stadium...

Adam Small

Utah lawmaker asks for $1 billion for an NHL stadium in Salt Lake City

To fund an NHL stadium in Utah, Salt Lake City's sales tax rate would go from 7.75% to 8.25% if the bill is approved.

3 days ago

crime Ballpark...

Curt Gresseth

Cop talks knocking down violent crime in Ballpark Neighborhood

Violent crime in the Ballpark Neighborhood of Salt Lake City is down. A deputy chief details how the SLCPD achieved the results.

4 days ago

UTA Frontrunner commuter rail. UTA Plans to address delays by updating cars and adding a new line t...

Curt Gresseth

UTA boss talks about train delays, says improvements coming

Despite frustrating delays, UTA has a 90 percent "on-time" record, says the executive officer.

5 days ago

social media...

Curt Gresseth and Don Brinkerhoff

Senate committee OK changes to Utah’s Social Media Regulations Act

A Utah lawmaker discusses his social media bill aimed to protect children while parents and a teen testify about loss of a son to suicide and the pain of addiction.

9 days ago

The IRS is writing checks for smaller tax refunds this year, but a Utah expert says it's still earl...

Curt Gresseth

Tax refunds are about 30% smaller than last year — but it’s early

The IRS is writing checks for smaller tax refunds this year, but it's still early in the tax season.

11 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Coping with grief and loss during a pandemic