Grieving in the time of pandemic (Part 2)

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the lives of every person worldwide. What we have always taken for granted as normal are now considered health risks – from simple gatherings between friends to gestures of affection such as a hug. It has even affected the way we grieve and mourn for the loss of a loved one. In Part 1 of this article, we touched on how severe restrictions on the remains management of COVID-19 patients mean we cannot even have a proper funeral to grieve and say farewell to a loved one who died due to the pandemic.

The way the corona virus infects and kills – so quick and sudden – have robbed many families not only of their loved ones but also the chance to say goodbye on every level. This has inadvertently led to much trauma and guilt for those left behind who are unable to find closure and acceptance as they are denied the chance to properly grieve and heal in the familiar way. Life pre-planning has perhaps become even more important now more than ever; to ensure that our loved ones will never be left in a lurch in such a situation.

That aside, for those who find themselves in such an unfortunate, heartbreaking predicament, what can one do to cope with grieving in the new normal? The common misconception that most people make is that funerals are for the deceased when in fact it is more for the living. Human beings are social creatures who naturally seek to connect and funerals bring together family and friends so that they find support with each other and grieve. While physical gatherings are not advised during the pandemic, we can still connect with others through the wonders of technology. Call or host online conferences with family members and friends to stay connected. Create a virtual memorial via video chat or social media and invite everyone to share memories and stories or even a prayer or two. 

It also helps to seek support from faith-based organisations, including religious leaders and congregations if applicable. At times of grief, spiritual counseling or advice can be of great help to healing. Best of all, most of these organisations have embraced the new normal by using technology so that spiritual help is never far away with social distancing.

Counseling services, support groups or hotlines have always been easily accessible through phone and online even before the pandemic. If necessary, seek support from a mental healthcare provider. Read about grief and loss from online resources and talk to others; always remember that you are never ever truly alone despite social distancing and lockdowns. 

COVID-19 restrictions mean we may not be able to host a funeral as we normally do when someone passes away due to the coronavirus but we can host a memorial at a later time to remember a loved one when times are better. Traditions are important but it does not mean we cannot adapt due to circumstances and changing times.

For more information visit https://www.nirvana.com.my/getting-started/pre-planning/ for funeral pre-planning, or https://nirvana.bereev.com/ on life pre-planning online.

For more resources on loss and grieving, visit https://www.nirvana.com.my/zh/resources-2/lifecafe/ .

Grieving in the time of pandemic (Part 1)

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