HONORING LOSS AFTER COVID-19 - Pandemic has completely changed the way we grieve · Parkinson's Resource Organization

HONORING LOSS AFTER COVID-19 - Pandemic has completely changed the way we grieve

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Each day the local newspaper confirms the fears, the rising number of people in the Coachella Valley with covid-19 and the deaths the virus has claimed along the way. It is frightening from front page information.

            What is missing is a report on how the victims’ families dealt with their losses. Were loved ones allowed by their side? Did they die alone? Death is the pandemic does not leave room for a last hug or a last in person “I love you” or “goodbye.”

            Pandemic obituaries often end with hope of a remembrance or graveside service to be held in the future. That is if the family is not too much in shock now to think about the future.

            There may have been a virtual funeral. An opportunity to embrace those left behind reduced to a voice or image on a screen. And, that is only for those with access to the technology and the know-how to log-in and use it.

            Before the pandemic, and End-of-Life Doula would work with patients and loved ones establishing pre- and post- death rituals, planning a vigil for the final days and hours, and creating a legacy. Social distancing and sheltering-in-place make this type of intimate work unlikely.
            Once the covid-19 crisis washes, you can find numerous ways to recover the dignity and sacredness your loved one deserves. Plan a ceremony to perform long-awaited rituals or established a legacy project to help keep the memory of the loved one in your heart forever.

            It is never too late to plan a visual. What music would have brought a smile or a tear to your loved one? What fragrance will loft in the air? What mood will the lighting set? What guest list will create a community of love and remembrance for your loved one? Will there be a poem, fond memories shared, experiences recalled or silence? Will prayers be recited? If so, who will leave them?

            Covid-19 can ravage a family. The normal grieving process gets disrupted and grief can go unattended. As much as we might like, we cannot turn back the clock and find that lost time. And End-of-Life Doula can help you grieve and celebrate your loved one in a manner that respects you and honors the loved one who has died.

            Glendon Muir Geikie Sr. is an End of Life Doula in Palm Springs and a member of the International End of Life Doula Association (INELDA). He is a member of the Wellness Village since June 2020 and can be found at https://www.parkinsonsresource.org/the-wellness-village/directory/end-of-life-doula-palm-springs/

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Updated: August 16, 2017