“The mourning” by Josée Jacques: living a mourning for the time of the COVID-19

«Le deuil» de Josée Jacques: vivre un deuil au temps de la COVID-19

How to explain to young children that a person who is so dear to you died? How to help them through grief, especially in a period where everything gets complicated? Psychologist that specializes in serving the bereaved, Josée Jacques offers runs that are lit and filled with humanity, useful for the whole world, in his new book of the collection to The Toolbox, The Mourning.

Regardless of their age, children can be affected by all kinds of losses : a move, departure of a teacher, death of a pet, or even death of a loved one. Feelings of sadness, anger, sometimes even helplessness, or guilt come up, then darken their daily lives.

How to cross a bereavement in the midst of a pandemic, as a child and as an adult, grieving is already a shock? “Grief, when we lose someone we love, it is one of the most stressful events in a lifetime”, says Josée Jacques.

“In this context, it is particular, because all of it is suggested usually as being beneficial to the mourning, as put in place the rituals, be able to talk about this loss with the relatives, unfortunately, people can’t do it. This is why it becomes difficult.”

It is necessary to find new forms of rituals and to be able to share it with other people, to feel that one is not alone in the loss, she said. “We saw the grief as confined. It was beautiful to videos, FaceTime, phones… but it is sure that the effects are not the same. It is less significant than the communal rituals.”

Adaptation strategies

For adults as well as children, the way you grieve will depend on the ways we find to adapt, ” adds the specialist. “I spoke with a colleague whose dad, who was in a CHSLD, died of the COVID-19. He said : it is certain that we will do a ritual. This will be in six months, in a year… but when we will put his ashes in the ground, we are going to do to the collection that my father would have liked to have.”

Already, view that the ritual is postponed is soothing, ” adds Josée Jacques. “In the meantime, it is going to put a photo in the house, light a candle, and members of the family have written texts on Facebook. It is as if people were going to look for another way to implement rituals. There will be innovation. And everything will depend on the resources of each.”

However, when there is a lot of anger and guilt, the grieving process can become complicated. “Currently, when we lose an elderly person, and that one has the impression that it could not be by her side, or that she didn’t understand what was going on, it can make living out of guilt to the bereaved. It can have a lot of anger in the place of the system – we are seeing it now.”

Mixed reactions

The reactions of children facing bereavement differ from those of adults. “Young people are going to understand death differently. From 7-8 years, it is there that there will be more questions. In this case, they ask what are the causes, wonder if they are also at risk.”

But when the children are very young, the particularity, is that they often do not include too much death, ‘ she says. “They have the impression that this is not permanent, that it is reversible and quickly, they may feel responsible. There will be a need to reassure the children.”

  • Josée Jacques is a psychologist that specializes in serving the bereaved.
  • She is also a professor of psychology at the Collège de Rosemont.
  • She has written several books on grief, including the notebook activities without you My life, for the children.
  • His website : joseejacques.ca


The Mourning, the toolbox
Josée Jacques, Editions de Mortagne, 184 pages.”>

The Mourning, the toolbox
Josée Jacques, Editions de Mortagne, 184 pages.

To offer a presence that is reassuring to the child, regardless of their reactions or lack of reaction, helps to feel confident enough to express the turmoil caused by the loss. This quality of presence has as objective to transmit to him the most important message of all : I’m here for you and available to listen to you. We can do this in many ways : him to prepare his favorite snack, offer him a bubble bath and colorful, the border sunset, and offer him a massage, go play with him, invite him to do an activity of his choice, listen to a movie with him, etc, in Short, it is simply to create an alliance with the child so that he gives himself permission to express that impulse in him, regardless of its nature and the time in which this will occur.”

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