Nobody wants to talk about death. No-one wants to face their own mortality. But the impact of the Coronavirus has changed all of that. Almost 30,000 souls have died as a result of this pandemic; people who didn’t expect or anticipate their demise in the early months of 2020.
Families and friends have been left bereft by the unanticipated loss of loved ones. Wills are being drawn up, affairs put in order, funeral preferences stated. Virtual death cafes have been inundated by those wanting to talk about the dying and bereavement process because the need to make some sense of the current situation has become critical. No-one knows what may happen next, or to whom.
Above all, it hasn’t been possible to say our goodbyes and grieve for our loved ones in the ways we know and understand.
Funerals have had limited mourners because of social distancing, families can’t touch the coffin to make a personal and heartfelt farewell and there has been limited ability to share the support and memories of those who knew the deceased well.
Direct cremation has become the norm in these dire times and the funeral rites of the past have vanished for the time being.
If you are suffering, you are not alone, and all is not lost.
In these darkest hours of the pandemic, there is little that can be done practically to change what is happening and how we honour our dead.
But funeral ceremonies CAN be performed digitally. Family and friends from all over the world can join in with a streamed ceremony and most crematoria now have the ability to do that. A celebrant can still write and deliver the story of the deceased in a true and full celebration of their life.
Most crematoria are also happy to have a shortened funeral ceremony which can be performed with limited mourners. If that ritual and that goodbye is vitally important to you, it’s still possible, either as a private and exclusive celebration or with others joining in via the internet.
Or perhaps you might consider a memorial ceremony in the future? This allows for a future celebration which will include the gathering of family and friends to share love, laughter and memories for that missing person in your life. Their story doesn’t lose any value for a few weeks of not being told. And with the shock of losing someone at this time of isolation, those weeks may provide a much needed start on the path of grief.
Remember there is help all around you, albeit it be digitally or via the telephone. As a celebrant, I miss the ability to offer comfort and support to the families I meet. I have performed ceremonies where I can’t even shake hands with the families I serve, let alone give them a hug in their grief. And that is heartbreaking.
Things will change. Maybe not quickly; some things may never quite go back to how they were. But together, we’ll find a way.
If I can help you, even if you just want to talk, please don’t hesitate to contact me.