Losing someone to death is hard enough. But losing someone during a lockdown - when funerals are banned and not even a hug is allowed - would arguably be even more heartbreaking. The Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand has come forward with a special Covid-19 resource for families who will experience the death of a loved one in the next four weeks and what they can do to help in the grieving process.
Association president Gary Taylor said it was in support of bereaved families who felt extremely distressed that they could not hold a funeral, tangi or any other kind of gathering for their lost loved one. "It offers ideas gathered in from Kiwis from right around New Zealand who understand grief and recognise how painful this Covid-19 situation must be for anyone grieving a loved one's death," he said. "Our funeral directors are feeling deep concern for bereaved families and are totally committed to supporting them as best they can in this unprecedented time." In the resource, people are encouraged to speak to the funeral director who is caring for their relative; or speak with a cultural leader, church minister or priest, rabbi, Muslim cleric or other religious leader they are comfortable with. People are being told that they will have to delay any funeral or memorial service for at least the period of the four-week lockdown. Instead of a funeral service, FDANZ suggests connecting with other relatives and friends via technology - whether it be video-calling via Skype or Facetime or email and a simple phone call. Even Facebook makes the list - with the suggestion for a grieving family to make up a dedicated page where loved ones can post special memories, videos or photos of the person who has died. Eulogies could also be written via a digital memorial guest book set up by the funeral director or making up a photo board or wall in the house. Another suggestion is to publish a notice in the newspaper and including a special request to those who knew their loved one. "Perhaps make it longer by saying some of the things you loved about them and asking people to take the time to remember them at a certain time. "For example: 'Please take the time to remember [name] and the wonderful person she/he was on Friday at 3pm and pray a prayer of thanksgiving/light a candle/raise a glass/have a cup of tea in her/his honour." The FDANZ also acknowledges that there will be people who still need extra support during this time. Anyone who feels that way can call the Grief Centre about phone support services available during weekday hours on (09) 418 1457 or 0800 331 333.
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