Please consider these suggestions in the humble, respectful spirit they are offered and feel free to contact Edu Therapy Solutions to discuss further for clarification and/or support.
- Follow direction of respective provincial government orders and guidelines, particularly information on social distancing and public gatherings.
- Communicating the guidelines for social distancing to people attending both the funeral ceremony and/or graveside ceremony may be difficult given the emotional nature of these ceremonies. It may be helpful to explain the restrictions come from respective Public Health Orders.
- Prior to the funeral and/or graveside ceremonies it’s advised to communicate self screening recommendations to those planning on attending. Guidelines can be found in your respective Public Health Order(s).
- Clean and sanitize all surfaces prior to and following the ceremony(s).
- Keep a record of guests attending the ceremony(s) for follow up if necessary.
- You may want to consider planning a larger celebration of life once restrictions on social distancing and public health gatherings changes.
- For those attending the funeral, a small group circle(s) for sharing and reminiscing may be supportive and therapeutic. It is important to maintain social distancing practices while participating in the circles.
- Some funeral attendees have replaced hugs and handshakes with placing your hand over your heart and smiling at other funeral attendees to show support and connection during the time of loss.
- Technology may be helpful for those unable to attend the funeral in person. It’s important to recognize this may impact the level of connection and support people experience though. Follow up with grievers utilizing social media may be helpful and necessary to assist those not physically in attendance to feel supported in their grief journey.
- Guests attending through live streaming may find it helpful to view the deceased.
- Meals and beverages at the event as has been the case in the past may need to be reconsidered given the current circumstances.
- Grief is the pain of loss. If we are grieving, the loss is important to us.
- A wide range of losses result in grief. If we are grieving, the loss is valid. Often we expect the pain to be solely due to the death of a loved one but other losses commonly contribute to grief as well.
- We grieve the past that is lost as well as the future that will never be, is changed and/or is now uncertain.
- The experience of grief is individual and unique to each of us. This doesn’t mean we have to grieve alone. Even with current restrictions, connecting with others in safe, and sometimes creative, ways can be helpful.
- Common feelings associated with grief are: sadness, fear, anger, guilt and joy. There is often a range of intensity of these feelings that may change through the grief process. The feelings may conflict and consume a high amount of emotional energy. Being mindful of our holistic well being is particularly important during times of grief.
- Identifying and acknowledging the painful and/or conflicting emotions of grief can be empowering and help us connect with others who are grieving.
- When supporting a griever, support often comes through respectful, patient listening and emotional identification and validation.
- If/when we get ‘stuck’ in painful emotions of the past or future, utilizing mindfulness techniques, grounding techniques, and/or caring supports can help us be more in the present where we have choices. Being present focused is typically more empowering than being trapped in a painful emotional state we feel we have no choice in. It may be helpful to explore mindfulness and grounding techniques as well as (re)connect with social, cultural and/or spiritual supports at this time.
(Edu Therapy Grief Solutions, 2020)