As you can imagine, not having the opportunity to hold a traditional funeral or memorial service can be very difficult for anyone. I personally believe we benefit from gathering and remembering our loved ones. I believe in the funeral service as a part of the grief journey. Support where and when you can. Most important, be kind, always. There are still ways you can support them as detailed below.
- First and foremost – CHECK IN WITH THEM! Check in with grieving family members and friends often by phone, email, text, social media. The death of a loved one is an incredibly stressful and life-altering event. Right now, this is exacerbated one billion per cent. Grief is a very solitary and unique thing under normal circumstances but with COVID-19, people who are grieving are dealing with what I call the everything of emotions. Try having normal chats with them, tell them about your day, ask about theirs. Allow for some silence, wait for them to respond, don’t rush the conversation. Invite them to tell you funny or loving memories about their loved one and share stories of your own experiences with them – do not be afraid to mention their name.
- Write a letter – a physical real-life letter and post it – maybe include photos or copies of photos. I don’t know anyone who does not like to get post or mail that is not a bill or someone asking for money.
- Organise an event in the future – a dinner or night out or church date – choose the date, time, location and send out to attendees and put it in the diary.
- Talk with them about the options available to them during the COVID-19 lockdown. Have they considered everything? Direct them to this list and see if you can help them to organize one of these memorials like setting up a website etc.
- Is there a memorial page or website or Facebook set up? Add your own memory, photos and loving thoughts/prayers.
- Is there a charity linked with the family of the deceased? Even if not, you could make a donation in their name. You could send some information to those grieving, explaining why you chose that particular charity maybe?
- Send dinner or lunch to their home from their favourite restaurant (if they're still open and delivering) and maybe include some wine or something and a note saying to video call you so you can have dinner together.
- Send a text or email every day at a certain time (set an alarm on your phone) and the text is simply a memory you have with their loved one. Check in after a few days of this and make sure that this is ok with them as this is something that could hurt or hinder someone’s grieving process. We are all different and some people love daily reminders and others absolutely hate it.