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How has the way we grieve changed since the Coronavirus pandemic?

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Published 15/03/2021
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With Marie Curie’s National Day of Reflection approaching on 23rd March, I wanted to reflect on how our grieving process has changed in the last year, and how we can adapt to ensure we are still able to mourn despite restrictions.

The way we grieve has had to change a lot since the pandemic began, with restrictions being placed on how many people can attend a funeral and some people being unable to attend funerals as they are shielding.

The most painful consequence is that a lot of people are unable to be with their loved ones in their final moments, making it that much harder when they do pass away.

It’s difficult to grieve when you feel like you were unable to say goodbye, and a funeral usually gives us the chance to do that. At a time when so many people are losing loved ones, it’s more important than ever that we are able to grieve properly.

What if I can’t go to my loved one’s funeral?

Funerals are an important part of the mourning process, as they give loved ones a chance to say goodbye. Due to Covid, restrictions have been placed on how many people can attend a funeral. If you are not able to attend the funeral of a loved one, it is important not to feel guilty - the restrictions have been put in place to protect people from Coronavirus.

Even if you are unable to attend your loved one’s funeral, there are still options available to you.

You could pre-record a eulogy to be played at the funeral. This means you still get to pay your respects to your loved one, and be able to take part in the service and say your goodbyes even if you are unable to attend physically.

Some funerals can now be watched via livestream or recording. Even if you can’t be there in person, at least you can watch the service from the safety of your own home.

Many people are choosing to hold a memorial service at a later date so family and friends can mourn their loved ones together once restrictions are lifted. Virtual memorials are also becoming popular, with family and friends getting together via a group video call to remember their loved one.

Have your own personal send-off for your loved one - plant a flower for them, write a letter, or do something you know they would have enjoyed.

You could also set up a tribute page for your loved one where family and friends can share memories and photos ( This can then be shared on social media, allowing all friends and family members to grieve in one place.

How can I grieve during lockdown?

Even though you may not be able to see your loved ones face to face, you can still support each other through your grief. Make sure to have regular video/phone calls with friends and family members, or even just text each other regularly. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone.

Try to get into a set routine. Many people are struggling with a loss of routine at the moment due to the lockdown, and this can make grief that much harder to bear. Even a basic routine gives you something to focus on and can help you get through your grief, for example just getting dressed in the morning and having regular mealtimes can help.

Try to get some fresh air and exercise. Take a walk if you are allowed, if not spend some time in your garden or even just open a window.

If you are struggling with your grief, visit our bereavement support section here:
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