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Remembering your loved ones during these challenging times

Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

One of the hardest things in life is when someone close to us dies. In normal circumstances, we might draw strength and comfort from being with others in the loss we feel. But in these challenging times during the coronavirus pandemic, this experience is made more difficult when funerals cannot be conducted as planned, and when we may be unable to give and receive the support that is needed among our family and friends.

In times like these, there could be many reasons why you are prevented from attending a funeral, including your own health concerns, the restrictions on numbers and travelling issues. In such difficult times, rather than concentrating on what cannot be done, it is often wise to focus on what can be done. So, ACT:

A - Acknowledge your feelings

You might be feeling frustrated, upset, anxious, guilty or overlooked that you cannot attend the funeral of someone who was close to you. Your feelings do matter so it is important to acknowledge them. But try not to let these feelings about the funeral arrangements overshadow the feelings you have for the one who has died. Instead, cherish every good and precious memory of that person and the life that was lived.

C - Consider the situation

This is hard but it is important to consider the reality of this pandemic and to try and take into account the greater good of public health. At present, funerals can be attended by a maximum of thirty people and other commemorative events are limited to six people. It might also be wise to consider the difficulties for those people in each bereaved family who are required to make difficult decisions in complying with the legal restrictions on numbers.

T - Think about what you can do to remember

Presently, many Funeral Directors are using technology so that those family members and friends who are unable to attend the funeral in person can witness the ceremony from their own homes. Ask if the funeral is being live-streamed or recorded and if you can be a part of the occasion from your own home.

Whether at the same time as the funeral, or at a time of your choosing, remember your loved one and think about the good memories you have. You could look at photos, listen to some favourite music, light a candle, write a message or poem, or draw something.

Others will also be grieving so you could send a card or message to a family member or friend to let them know you are thinking of them.

You could donate to a charity in their name. Thames Hospice offers a lovely way to support the Hospice whilst remembering a loved one through ‘Forget-me-not Tributes’. These funds offer an online space where your friends and family can donate in memory of your loved one, as well as share photos, videos and memories. This offers a permanent online tribute that you can return to as much as you wish in future years. To create a tribute or find out more, visit our Forget-me-not Tribute page.

You could make a memory box of special keepsakes, or you could see if there is an online guestbook for condolences or a website of remembrance.

You could talk to someone to help you in your bereavement. A wise and trusted friend or a qualified bereavement counsellor can be very helpful. Thames Hospice runs an excellent bereavement support service. Please call the team on 01753 847300 if you would like further information.

When restrictions are lifted and it is safe to do so, there may be an opportunity for a future gathering of family and friends, you could visit the cemetery or burial ground, or perhaps there is a place you could visit that was special to your loved one.

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