I feel enormously privileged when I talk to bereaved families to plan a loved one’s funeral. At that delicate moment in time when they are still adjusting to speaking of their loved in the past tense. When their world seems to have spun off its axis and nothing seems right. They have lots to do and yet time seems to have stood still. And yet they welcome me in, to share their story.
Of course Covid restrictions and lockdowns have made that time even more difficult, and during the lockdowns in almost all cases it has not been possible for me to actually meet with families in person, so they have a choice of Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp or just a good old phone call. I do prefer it when we can at least we can see each other though. I’m well aware that I am asking them to share intimate information with a stranger- at least they can see who this stranger is. Especially so that when we finally meet for the first time at the crematorium or cemetery, I will be a familiar face.
But it looks like it won’t be too long now (relatively speaking) before I can look forward to once again being able to walk up a garden path, perhaps spotting beautifully tended plants in the borders on the way, all hints about the life of the person who has been lost. Noticing seating areas that show how they loved entertaining in the garden, or built to sit and watch the wildlife. Meeting their beloved dog, who will now keep the bereaved partner going as they adjust to their new life. People don’t vanish when they pass, their spirit lives on and their touches are everywhere.
Tears, laughter and memories are what the family meetings are full of, whether its via Zoom or in person. A chance to talk freely about their loved one. A precious and safe moment at a time of great upheaval. And I so look forward to being able to hold a hand when needed, again. Literally. As great as Zoom has been, it really can’t do that.
Pic: Ready for a Zoom call. Cat filter switched off – tick. Pen at the ready – tick.