In the COVID-19 era I remain grateful that my parents did not die in the middle of a pandemic. Given the rules limiting funerals and more I could not imagine not having a funeral to say goodbye to Mom and Dad. How many people are going to be stuck in that they can’t say goodbye because funerals can’t happen as they should. The coronavirus is cruel in how it interferes in the grieving process for those affected.
“When someone you love dies, and you’re not expecting it, you don’t lose her all at once; you lose her in pieces over a long time—the way the mail stops coming, and her scent fades from the pillows and even from the clothes in her closet and drawers. Gradually, you accumulate the parts of her that are gone.
“Just when the day comes—when there’s a particular missing part that overwhelms you with the feeling that she’s gone, forever—there comes another day, and another specifically missing part.”
Mom and Dad
New Orleans jazz band honors those who can’t hold funerals.
This has been a challenging time and one that has created a lot of difficulties for many Americans. Dealing with the realities and problems of a pandemic has turned the world upside down for so many. What has made my life much more difficult in these past few years is the deaths and burials of my parents. Mom died on April 1, 2017, and Dad died on November 21, 2018. It was a close time together and each death hit me hard. However there is one positive aspect of their death that coronavirus has taught me. As hard as it is I am grateful that in both situations my family was able to have a funeral for each parent.
Funerals in the COVID-19 Era
Last Thursday afternoon I took a call. It was from a friend of mine. He spent the conversation explaining how the coronavirus has impacted his life. Due to where he was traveling he was in quarantine for late March and then interacted with another person who came from a coronavirus hot spot and was back in quarantine. The COVID-19 virus had hit his family and took the life of his grandfather in Chicago. His grandfather was fine and in a nursing home and then an outbreak took place. In about 48 hours his health declined and he was moved to a hospital. Family that was nearby couldn’t visit or be by his side as he was dying because of how contagious the coronavirus virus is. He died alone and then the family found themself dealing with a new problem. How do you do a funeral in an era of social distancing? After all in a couple of situations the coronavirus spread at funeral gatherings in a couple of cities in the United States. This family struggled with how to handle the funeral and the limitations that were imposed. They didn’t know if a funeral could be held due to the problems linked to it.
I was hearing all this with shock and dismay. There have been a number of situations where people have struggled to bury loved ones who died in the pandemic. You can read about the challenges that exist with this situation and even how the coronavirus is changing the funeral industry.
As Hard as My Parents Deaths Were I Remain Grateful that We Could Have Two Funerals
My parents deaths have been deeply challenging. With both deaths I feel like a part of me died in the process. I do not feel the same since this all happened. The funerals were challenging. Especially my Dads. Attending my Dad’s funeral was one of the deepest fears of my life. I am not going to link to it but if you look back at the posts I wrote about my Dad and his death, I wrote about that fear in 2018. But in both situations it was the support of family and friends who came up to me and my sisters and shared their condolences. Before and after the funeral those that came up and hugged or allowed me to weep on their shoulder helped with the grieving process and shock of the death. In the experience I had people that came up to me and shared private stories of my parents that I wish I could go back and ask them about. I learned things about my parents that I didn’t know. And as a result my love for them deepened and the desire to hang on to them became stronger.
What would have happened if my parents passed in the COVID-19 era? How would I struggle forward if there was no funeral? What could have been done in a limited setting? Honestly I don’t know. For me that is one of the things that makes the coronavirus so cruel is that it steals that from people. How could I move forward if there was no proper way to say goodbye? How could my parents friends say goodbye if they could not attend? As I think about this I find the idea just unbelievable. I think of my friend whose family is facing this situation right now. Because of this I am grateful that my parents didn’t die in the COVID-19 era. As weird as it is to say this, I find that to be a blessing.