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by Leslie Farin
originally posted April 10, 2020
Updated September 6, 2020
Update: New ways to cope with grief
Here we are still in the midst of the Covid19 pandemic five months after I wrote the post below. Crazy. Who knew the situation would continue through most of 2020? We are all ready to resume some sense of normalcy in our lives, but for now the situation is anything but normal – and some of us experienced the loss of a loved one during this time.
Families need closure
Grief, difficult under the best of circumstances, is even more so now. Without the usual traditions and physical interactions that helped people cope prior to the quarantine, many find closure eludes them now. It’s great that funeral homes now live stream services and zoom calls help groups congregate to provide online support, but is it enough? It’s difficult to absorb all that goes on during a memorial service under the best of circumstances.
Celebrating the life of a loved one is different during the pandemic
As a result, people look for alternative ways to celebrate the lives of loved ones. Visual story companies such as Memorial Masters, owned by Steve Crane in Dallas, provide options to help provide much needed closure for the bereaved. Professional online streaming of memorial services, done discreetly with multiple cameras, allow people to attend and observe services virtually. Beautifully captured, mourners really feel they are a part of the day – rather than passive watchers. Loving memories and kind words relayed at the service, when well documented and archived professionally, can be watched again and again when ready.
Grief is hard in today’s Covid-19 world
Grief is hard…and even more so in today’s Covid-19 world. Consider a professional service to capture the ceremony on tape. For those who wish to preserve a loved one’s life story, end-of-life celebration or provide a visual obituary that honors the person’s past, this service is a wonderful gift to give yourself, a family member or a friend.
Find out more about Memorial Masters.
original post: April 10, 2020
Losing a loved one is difficult at any time, but even more painful amidst today’s necessary social distancing measures.
The changing face of grief
Earlier this week I unexpectedly lost a dear family friend. He was 83 years old, and in a New Jersey hospital for issues unrelated to the virus when diagnosed with it. Covid-19 was the straw that broke the camel’s back; he was simply not strong enough to fight. He passed away in his room, alone and scared.
The funeral home, backed up due to the astronomical number of recent deaths in the area, allowed the heartbroken widow ten minutes for the funeral. They permitted no one else to attend. None of the eight children or fourteen grandchildren said goodbye that day to their beloved patriarch.
A double trauma
There was no wake for this observant Catholic family. No visitors stopped by the house after the funeral with hugs, kisses or casseroles. Much appreciated comfort was offered by phone, text and an occasional zoom call, but this family desperately needed the physical support of their community. Instead, tears were shed quietly by relatives and friends in the privacy of their separate homes.
Sandee LaMotte quoted David Kessler, co-author of the book “On Grief and Grieving” with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, in a recent cnn.com article:
“Grief is a time of connection. We’ve always been able to be with their bodies, to gather for a funeral. All that is gone. So we’re not only robbed of our loved one, but we’re also robbed of our ability to gather to honor them. On a national level, this is really unprecedented”, he said.
These are not ordinary times. The need to “flatten the curve” and stop the spread of the virus, while essential, cruelly impacts those in mourning. It is during these difficult times we most need to connect in-person with others.
Healing and hard times
I used to think religious rituals were rote and unnecessary, at least for me – until my mom passed away two years ago, that is. Only then did I understand the comfort of these traditions and the importance of community to provide a distraction from the grief. For most of us, the hard part starts when everyone leaves and the house returns to quiet. In today’s world of social distancing, the house is void of the comforting buzz of well-meaning people offering support and sharing memories; distractions are few and I imagine the pain is that much more intense.
Humans need to connect with others, especially in times of sorrow. We need to know we are not alone, and that somehow the ache deep in our souls will lessen at some point. Unfortunately, we cannot gather to console each other in today’s world. Rituals are not part of the mourning process right now and closure seems elusive. Sure, the family can gather at a later date once life resumes some sense of normalcy, and it will be nice… but it will not the same.
My friend would have hated to live in a world without hugs and kisses.