Suddenly it seems like Coronavirus has seized control of every aspect of life and death. Daily living requires new and unprecedented adjustments. Dying brings heartbreak and unimaginable adaptations.

Hospital visitations are curtailed. Travel is limited. Public gatherings are unsafe. And someone special to you has passed away, and you weren’t permitted to be there.

How do you adapt to mourning in a global health crisis?

How do you manage guilt and anxiety when

iI feels like the world will never be the same again?

How do you maintain emotional, physical, and social balance until there are treatments and vaccines for Covid-19?

We asked social worker Camille Faunda of Float On Counseling in north Tampa for mental health and grief guidance during this time of pandemic uncertainty.

Q: The shock of not being allowed to hold a family member or friend who is dying, whether anticipated or sudden, is overwhelming many mourners. What can ease the pain of losing someone who is a vital part of your life without the physical hugs and last goodbyes?

A: To come to an acceptance of uncontrollable situations, I encourage clients to think about what they do have control over in their day, such as a daily routine that includes exercise, mediation, and a balanced meal.

Allow yourself the space – a physical space and an emotional space – to express feelings. Turn off the TV and put your phone away. The constant news coverage and media stream add to the stress.

I may suggest journaling – write down thoughts, memories, questions – to work through the grieving process, especially since the historic pandemic.

It can be helpful to remember other past experiences when you faced adversity. Acknowledge your strengths and aim for some goals to get through each day. Find purpose, but be kind to yourself. I always say sprinkle yourself with grace.

Q Hospital and travel restrictions seem so cruel. People are devastated and filled with guilt when kept away from terminally ill loved ones. What can help them begin to forgive themselves?

A: Try to reflect on the special things you did together. Think about what makes you smile, not trips untaken or words unspoken. Try to find peace with what you did and not what you didn’t.

A sunset you shared; bird watching together; that rain-drenched camping trip or the birth of your children. Don’t stop doing the activities you did with your loved one.

Q: Personal and physical connections are so important for closure, but stay-at-home orders necessitated that hundreds of funerals and memorial services be streamed over the internet. Can connecting virtually with family and friends really have a positive benefit?

A: The grief of not seeing a loved one or someone you know well before he or she passes has been insurmountable. I do fear the societal and emotional impacts this pandemic will have on future generations.
Waiting to have a memorial service prolongs that stage in the grief work or healing process. Being unable to travel makes it that much harder to make meaning of the loss.

One particular client shared her sense of Incompleteness because of Covid-19 travel restrictions while grieving her husband’s loss. She is considering a Zoom memorial but is frustrated by the lack of human touch and comfort.

Planning something special, going through photos and videos for a memorial or tribute, can bring comfort and some closure even on the phone or FaceTime. Virtual contact is still human connection until normal, comforting routines and rituals return.

Q. Do you recommend virtual bereavement support groups?
Yes, I highly recommend virtual bereavement sessions and any type of support group for that matter, even when there is no Covid isolation. Right now, some clients are missing the social aspect of grief work in the midst of quarantines and safe distancing.

There is significance in sharing thoughts and memories about your loved one with others, and it’s very lonely when you really can’t see anybody.

Our practice has an online support group in the works, but LifePath Hospice does currently offer virtual bereavement support groups for no charge.

Q: One more question, please. How can friends and relatives avoid expressing well-intended but wrong sentiments? How can they be most helpful?

Great question. People tell me all the time that nobody ever says the right thing to them. My understanding is that there are no right words to say to someone grieving a deep loss. I believe the best thing a friend can do for someone is to simply listen. Ask how the person is doing and just listen. There is power in the presence of stillness while actively listening.

During this pandemic, it is especially important to call and check in on their well being. Isolation can be a really dangerous place for someone who is feeling sad.

Bringing food and flowers are traditions; cooking for others is our usual love language. Just make sure which they are comfortable with your in-person delivery or if they prefer a restaurant delivery.

About me
Let’s get to know each other… how about I start? My name is Camille and I am a native Minnesotan living in Tampa with my husband and our two dogs. Our family migrated south for the warm weather and hopes to grow closer as a family. “Grow where you’re planted” has been my mantra living in Tampa and exploring all of the special neighborhoods we get to call our home. There is nothing better to me than exploring with family all of the new places to eat, drink coffee, enjoy runs, or practice yoga. I hope for the opportunity to get to know you as well.

Why I became a Counselor?
Believe it or not, I grew up dreaming to become an architect mainly because I loved the thought of creating something unique and safe for families to grow in. I have been able to fulfill my dream, but down other avenues and up other streams. I watched my parents pour into others throughout their lives in different ways. I grew up dreaming and hoping that one day I can make a career out of empowering people. As a clinician, I am able to live out my dream of helping individuals identify their own strengths and power within to transform through their anxiety, grief, adjustment, or feelings of stuck.

Education, Experience, and Approach

Float on Counseling, LLC – Therapist

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker certified in working with those who have a cancer diagnosis. I earned my Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work in 2015 from the University of South Florida. I hold a license in the state of Florida. My experience as a clinician has been working alongside adults and their families facing a life altering diagnosis, specifically focusing on anticipatory grief, complicated grief, and bereavement. My role as a clinician is to help address emotional, mental, or behavioral issues and work together towards mutually-identified goals. The gift of listening is both validating and empowering, and it is my hope to provide this to you.

Can you recall a time when someone said the wrong thing to you when you were feeling down? There are many ways to comfort and support someone experiencing change, facing sadness, or grieving a loss, and many people don’t know what to do or what to say. This is hard for someone who is grieving as they often want to talk about their loss. My approach for therapy is to uncover obstacles preventing someone to feel the freedom of grieving properly. Together it is possible to experience the beauty in making meaning of loss.