Grief in the time of the corona


The mourning group meetings were canceled. The psychologist class was postponed.

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I feel so alone, at a time when the country has closed down and people are staying inside, writes Kine Olsen. Photo: Jan Faukner / Shutterstock / NTB scanpix (illustration photo)


Norway, March 2020.

I feel lonely, I think, as I peek out the window. It’s so naked outside. Quiet. Not quite as it used to be on a Saturday morning.

The streets are empty, no children, no play, no laughter. It’s just quiet and deserted. That’s how I feel and. Lonely, quiet and abandoned.

It helps me not that the whole city has been turned into a ghost town. I used to sit here and look at the people, at life and all their joy.

My thoughts scare me. What is the point of all this?

I shake them off. Horrors go through the body thinking about the conditions in other countries. I rather go on to the wall I am painting.

I see the paintbrush pull back and forth. Almost like in time. Covers an old and gray wallpaper. Creates new life. There’s therapy in this, I think, as I look around the room. The brush I hold in my hand has created new life for the old room.

It’s good to be able to do something when my head gets full of spinning thoughts about what’s going on around the world, and not least what I myself recently experienced.

fragmented and piecemeal the pictures come back as I iron the paintbrush along the walls. Pictures of my heavily pregnant belly. Pictures of the little girl and how she was soft, soft and warm were placed on top of my chest. Without breathing or sound.

Pictures of my inner cry that she had to wake up, a miracle had to happen. And the feeling that God did not hear my prayers.

Pictures of chaos. The message that I had to struggle through many hours of childbirth. But without the prize at the end. The cries of two parents who are completely shattered.

I feel so alone, in a time when the country has closed down and people are staying inside. Little does anyone know what’s going on in my head right now.

The emergency services must prioritize the pandemic in the first instance. Grief group meetings have been canceled. The psychologist class has been postponed and must be taken over the phone when the time comes. It is hard to bear the grief over one’s child in the time of the corona.

Luckily I have still my second child who knows how to light up the days. I have to already just be present.

How can one create space to mourn when the days that should actually be spent healing oneself agree to fill the hours with content for one’s daughter when the kindergarten is closed.

But at the same time it is just right this that keeps me up, that which I hold on to. Perhaps the time of the corona has actually helped to draw me back to reality again, out of the bubble of sorrow faster than expected. How can one refrain from being present in such a time we are now in?

I’m standing here and wondering to myself, as I quietly continue to paint with my brush. In the hope of perhaps being able to cover over and paint away everyone bad thoughts and feelings, as the brush covers the old and creates new life in the room. Paint away the pain and fear that is ravaging all of us in the world right now.


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