The coronavirus brings the fear of dying alone


The coronavirus has aspects that are truly frightening. It evokes in us those fears that we most avoid thinking about. In addition, it also inspires us to yearn to get close to family members and friends who fight against death. The fear of dying alone terrifies us.

To some of us, it may suggest the deceased’s life lacked love and worth. Thus, at the end of their lives, they were forgotten.  The Japanese even have a word for this: “kodokushi”. It means “lonely death.” Currently, because the funeral rituals had to be postponed or could not happen, it may seem that the dead disappeared.


fear of dying alone
Understand why people with COVID-19 have the fear of dying alone. (Source: O Globo)

The fear of dying alone in times of COVID-19

Unfortunately, it is these things that we fear and cause us anxiety that ends up making us vulnerable to the virus. Patients infected with the virus are being isolated in hospitals and nursing homes. This is because it seeks to prevent the spread of the disease. Religious leaders have been doing their rituals at a distance. Family members, in turn, also await news far away, in their homes.

Still, according to some doctors, the current situation of people who die is not exactly that of loneliness. This is because several of them are accompanied by hospital staff before they die. Many coronavirus victims in Italy and elsewhere are forced to spend their last days alone in hospital isolation. 

Because of the high risk of contamination, family members and close friends cannot approach their dear ones. -If they did, they could be infected and end up infecting more healthy individuals. Besides, with these news measures, families no longer have the option to make their loved ones look peaceful by brushing their hair, applying makeup, or dressing them in their favorite outfit before burial. Such circumstances also increase the fear of dying alone.

There are some improvements in this situation over time. This is because there are already cases in which the hospital promotes distance contact between family members and patients. In other cases, the hospital staff is vigilant beside them. Thus, it is not 100% true that people in hospitals are dying alone.

In fact, we are no longer able to perform our end-of-life rituals. Besides, according to psychologists, there is both the fear of seeing family and friends die alone and the fear of dying with no one by our side. But, it is necessary to dissociate the idea that to die alone means to die without being loved. In fact, this idea of abandonment is false. These are two different things.


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Autor rodmaster

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