A couple of weeks ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer a public health emergency of international concern. I felt a wave of relief wash over me when I heard this news, as I’m sure many people did.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought immense loss and grief across the globe. It took the lives of millions of people, leaving a profound impact on individuals and communities alike. However, one aspect that made the experience even more challenging was the absence of traditional mourning rituals, such as funerals.
Funerals have long served as a vital part of the grieving process in many cultures. They provide a space for loved ones to come together, share their grief, and support one another. These ceremonies offer comfort during a time of immense pain, allowing individuals to express their emotions and pay their respects to the departed. Funerals also create a sense of closure, which begins the healing process.
Restrictions on gathering sizes, travel limitations, and health concerns prevented people from coming together in the way they traditionally would. As a result, individuals were left without the structure and support that funerals provide, leaving them with a profound sense of loss and unresolved grief.
Many people were unable to find closure during the pandemic. While virtual memorials and online platforms ensured that people could gather virtually to grieve their departed loved one, the element of human connection was still missing.
Now that COVID-19 is no longer a public threat, you have the opportunity to find the closure you were unable to get after your loved one passed away during the pandemic.
One way is to have a celebration in honor of your departed loved one and invite the people the people they knew and loved. You can cook their favorite foods, bring out the photo albums, and share stories of your favorite memories of them. This act of remembrance will help create a sense of closure and allow individuals to express their emotions in a meaningful way.
You can also find a creative outlet that will help you get the closure that you need. Teresa Tomeo, a Catholic talk show host, author, and journalist, wrote down all the lessons she learned from her mother and published a book called, “Everything’s Coming Up Rosie: 10 Things My Feisty Italian-American Mom Taught Me About Living a Godly Life”. She said that writing this book helped her feel connected to her mother again and find the closure that she was looking for when her mother passed away during the pandemic.
In addition, seeking professional help and support is also essential in the journey toward closure. Grief counseling, therapy, and support groups can provide individuals with a safe space to process their emotions and navigate the complexities of grief. If you are in need of extra support, please join us for our monthly grief support groups. Our In-Person or Virtual Support Groups offer a comfortable and supportive environment, where you’ll find a warm fellowship of people with similar grief experiences.
The journey toward closure after COVID-19 is a deeply personal and challenging one. It requires individuals to be compassionate with themselves and others, to seek connection and support, and to find alternative ways to honor and remember those who have passed away. By acknowledging the significance of closure and actively working toward it, individuals and communities can begin to heal and find solace amidst the grief that the pandemic brought.
Written By: Paige Muttillo | Marketing Manager | Catholic Cemeteries Association