COVID has meant the topic of death has sadly been brought to the forefront of the news as well as our minds. Of course, we hope it won’t affect our own family and friends, but the reality of the situation is forcing people to have those challenging but important conversations.
Death is difficult to talk about, it is only natural that we would want to shy away from a complicated and emotional topic. However, it is important that we all start talking about it and have more open discussions about death. Learning to come to terms with death means that we can properly discuss our wants or fears. This allows us to cope better when we lose a loved one, especially during uncertain times like these.
How COVID has changed how we grieve
In order to mitigate the spread of the virus, the capacity at funerals has been limited. With restrictions now beginning to ease, a maximum of 30 guests may attend and there must be space at the venue to accommodate for adequate social distancing with local lockdowns facing even tighter restrictions.
As much as everyone understands the importance of these measures to protect the population, the reality of not being able to hold the ceremony your loved one may have wanted, is difficult to deal with. How can families choose which relatives can attend or more importantly, which relatives cannot?
Funeral ceremonies are also having to become simpler, with more people now opting for cheaper, less elaborate services. With limited numbers, some communities have been coming out and lining the streets to pay their respects to those they have lost.
It is not just the limited number of guests, but the distancing of those guests at the service means that we can no longer comfort each other with touch. A simple hand on the shoulder can be the comfort that someone needs during a difficult time.
Learning to communicate about death
We are all having to come to terms with death in a new way. We may not be able to physically comfort each other right now, but by video calls, we can reach out to loved ones and have those important conversations. Religious leaders are also now relying on digital forms of communication, like video calling, to reach out to communities and help support them online.
What measures are currently in place at funerals?
With guidelines changing constantly, along with local lockdowns too, finding out what you can and cannot do safely is challenging. You can find the most recent government advice about funerals during COVID-19, by taking a look at our blog, Funeral advice and information during the coronavirus outbreak. We will be updating this regularly so you can be sure to find the latest information.