Dying During the Pandemic but not from COVID-19

During these most unusual times, my husband and I have experienced deaths in each of our families and with friends. My aunt, my husband’s cousin and a good friend’s mother all passed away during April or May of 2020. Funerals were very limited or postponed for a later celebration of life. My friend’s mother resided in a nursing home until her passing. As with pandemic regulations, no visitors were allowed in to the home. He was unable to go in to her apartment to retrieve her address book in order to notify her friends and extended family.

At a peak time of grief, the restrictions from the pandemic denied these families many of the needs that arise with grief. Society and cultures, during a time of bereavement, have built in some good manifestations of support. They have wakes, viewings, funerals and celebrations of life. These are times for families and friends to gather and comfort each other, reminisce, and reassure each other. Memories are shared that help to lend value to the person who has died. Shared memories help to solidify those times in order to impress them in our minds. For some people, shared memories reveal a new aspect of the deceased’s life.

Delicious food is brought in. The benefit is two-fold. Comfort food brings comfort to those who are mourning. It also relieves the burden of cooking and preparing food for visitors.

I wonder what the effect will be of the diminished time of grief. I don’t know if anyone can predict, and I imagine that the effect will differ from person to person. I just hope that people will find helpful, positive ways to learn to cope with death during a pandemic.

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