The threat of death is more present in our national unconscious than it has been in the past. A killer virus and a violent invasion in Europe have made us feel less safe. Many of us didn't take for granted a safety. The scale of deaths in Ukraine is just beginning to emerge. Even if we don't have to hide in bomb shelters, our own mortality continues to alarm us.

Many people felt a sense of trauma after the invasion. The sufferers are left powerless and shocked by trauma. The two situations share some aspects. They represent deadly incursions into people's lives. Most of us identify with the families being separated, women and children going west, men staying to fight, even though we are far from the conflict in Ukraine. Some of the people who are fleeing know they will never meet again. The images of people at railway stations about to be forced apart are some of the most heart-breaking I have ever seen.

Hundreds of thousands of people were killed by the Pandemic in its worst months. It meant that many Britons had to say goodbye to their loved one on their phones or computers. According to the ONS, there were more than 24,000 widowed people in the UK in December and February of this year. Those in unmarried relationships are not accounted for. The figures do not exist.

I treat people who have died. The death of a partner is one of the most profound losses. The death of an adult is cruel. I was widowed at 45. Andrew's death was sudden, unforeseen, and the psychological impact took a long time to understand. I used to work with patients who had died. I was not.

I was told of a patient in a group meeting last spring who had been on a machine for four months before it was turned off. The woman was being treated by a therapist who was very concerned about her state of mind. She is still in my mind. We are alarmed by how many referrals we receive. We can't meet the need. I try to contact other therapists hoping they have a job. Politicians and the media are concerned about how bad mental health provision has been for the young, elderly people, the underprivileged, and the lonely.

Grief education should be part of our national curriculum

Will anything improve? The health service struggled to manage the catastrophe. There is no funding to pay for the psychological consequences.

The number of cases and deaths became a gauge of how quickly life could return to normal. I wondered what this moment of recognition might mean to someone after seeing photos of Covid victims nightly on TV. Is it comforting or disturbing?

A couple's life together was cut short by death in many Covid deaths.

While grief is not a mental health issue in the same way as depression or anxiety, it is a profound psychological wound and one that we need to understand better. Our national curriculum doesn't include grief education.

You can't hide the loss of your partner. Humans are programmed to be together. You are single and they are all around you. In the most mundane ways, your status suddenly changes from two to one. I was alone for a long time despite my family and friends.

It is possible to share this feeling for those who can afford therapy. My consulting room is a place where patients describe shame and a fear of boring friends as the grief progresses, dragging them along in its wake. The timetable of grief has to be experienced to be believed. The death of the person you live with is devastating. The smell of the loved one's clothes in the wardrobe, their DNA on the cups you drink from, and their DNA on the cups you don't drink from. These feelings are not visible to the outside world.

A person who has died is not a single person. You continue to love them even though someone loved you. I loved Andrew as much as I had before his death. He was no longer alive, but his commitment was not broken. It was this way for a long time, until I met a very different, but equally lovable man and we were able to re-enter the world together.

Those who have not experienced this loss misunderstand the right to continue in a couple. For years, decades, what is left of a lifetime, the feeling of being in a couple can persist. I see it as important to respect in my work. Difficult for other couples to handle the death of a spouse. Their sadness is heavy. What is half a couple? A reminder or a threat?

The grieving wife, husband, partner, lover needs to learn that the new life can be lived alongside the sadness of the old life. The experience of the death of a partner leaves a hollow behind, which is large and dark, and can be felt like sharp and painful objects. These objects are memories, which come back to life when a loved one is dead, and are very different to a memory of someone still alive. The letting go is different to the ties you abandon because someone no longer loves you or you no longer love them. There is a guilt that must be experienced by the survivor when someone dies and they still love you. You have life left in you. Something they wanted a lot. They are immobile, so you can move on.

Above all we must respect the one of two they once were

In the most mundane ways, memory can haunt you. There is a different order to shared memory. A widower's memory of a marriage anniversary is hard to celebrate with others. Her birthday, the first time he saw her, their first lunch, supper, holiday, engagement, what can be remembered? It is difficult to do it alone. What is the meaning of the memorialisation of the couple? Who are these private calculations for? They can bring pain if not shared.

Silver linings and resilience are encouraged by grief experts. I have never seen that with any patient I have seen in my room. Most choose to live on because of the death instinct. We are waiting for change.

The war will eventually become part of a shared history. The mass loss of life will never be felt by onlookers as it is by those who have lost a loved one. Only the grieving can imagine what it's like to lose a loved one. Only those in the country of Ukraine know what it's like. We can help in many ways, but we need to remember their psychological pain.

Let us not forget the spouses of the pandemic, we should look for new interests, relationships, and love. We must allow them to remain in their couples.

We must respect the one of two they once were, and not degrade or diminish the loving state of mind they had with their lost person. They may join the rest of us again as the grief ebbs away. Let them love in their own way, talking to someone who doesn't reply. I have seen many examples of how love continues even when the object is gone. Someone becomes defined by love, not by loss.