With the development of the coronavirus pandemic, life for many people is changing fast.

The changes to daily life that this involves can be hard to cope with. You may experience uncertainty over future plans and your future health. You may be left with anxious thoughts and feelings. Although such feelings are normal the suggestions here may be helpful in managing them.

This page covers bereavement advice during the Covid-19 pandemic. Including registering a death, funeral, grief, supporting people with dementia and supporting people with learning disabilities.

Bereavement and Covid-19

Any death may leave us feeling shocked or numb. At a time of the Covid-19 pandemic when we would most naturally want to be able to draw together with immediate family, we find that we are asked to maintain a social distance of 2 metres. We may also need to self-isolate either for our own health or for the health of others. In our bereavement we have the extra loss of human contact that might normally give us great comfort. It’s good to connect with those who love us as much as we can, be this by electronic devices such as computers, laptops or tablets or phone.

For those who are members of a trade union financial support might be available during this time.

Registering a death

There are changes to the way we make the practical arrangements after the death of our loved one. We need to book an appointment and can then register the death of our loved one over the phone.

Funeral

The funeral that our loved one may have planned may not be able to take place as we or the person we loved would have wished. Although some crematoria can offer a livestream facility it may only be possible for the most immediate members of the family to be present. It may be helpful to ask for a recording or perhaps for a photograph of the coffin and of the grave. This can help the reality of the death to sink in. Although hard to see this may well help with the grief of those who have been left behind.

Some families may choose to have the burial or cremation soon after the death but may perhaps delay a memorial service for several months to give a fitting tribute to the person who has died. This may give an opportunity for performing the usual rituals of funerals that can provide a known structure that can be helpful. It can also provide an opportunity for a wider circle of family and friends to acknowledge their own grief and have a chance to say goodbye.

 

Below are some links which may help you with financing funerals, planning memorials, organising funerals and support for people suffering bereavement.

Fair Funerals can help you find affordable funeral options. They are publishing the costs for all aspects of a funeral. This can help you to find the funeral you want for your budget.

You could be eligible for the governments Funeral Expenses Payment scheme. You can find out more by clicking here.

The Children’s Funeral Fund for England can help to pay for some of the costs of a funeral for a child under 18 or a baby stillborn after the 24th week of pregnancy. It is not means-tested. What you earn or how much you have in savings will not affect what you get. No one should now be charged for burial or cremation of a child. The fees for the burial or cremation can be claimed directly by the burial or cremation provider.

 

Simplicity Creations have some wonderful ideas on how to commemorate your loved one.

Cruise are sharing guidance and mechanisms for support around funerals during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Good Grief Trust have an abundance of guidance and support for people suffering bereavement during this period of Coronavirus.

Grief

If our loved one’s death was either from Covid-19 or was hastened by the situation of the Covid pandemic we may feel that the death was a “death out of time”. This may leave us feeling that our beliefs and values are being shaken. The assumptions we have taken for granted may have been shattered. We may find that we are questioning some of the deeper things of life that we never previously even thought about. As we grieve the loss of our loved one we may find it helpful to reconsider our thoughts on questions such as:

who or what gives me a sense of meaning or purpose in my life?

what are the things that help me to cope when things are difficult?

what are my beliefs about life?

If you find that you are asking such questions, you may find it helpful to explore what brings you a sense of meaning and comfort with this questionnaire:

click here to visit the a time for compassion resource

Should you feel that a conversation may be helpful to explore this further you may like to chat to a trained person from Dudley’s Listening and Guidance team. Phone appointments are available through your GP- just call your surgery and ask for a referral to the Listening and Guidance team.

You might also find it helpful to talk again with the celebrant or faith representative who officiated at your loved-one’s funeral. Some may offer a phone call to offer support. With funerals being so restricted at present you may also consider asking to be put in touch with one of the many faith and non-faith organisations that offer pastoral support:

Dementia

When a family member has dementia the experience of bereavement can be hard for them to understand. Skills that may help you to communicate well with the person with dementia are outlined here. Someone with dementia may also struggle to remember that their loved one has died. Here are practical suggestions for when and how to tell them that someone they love has died.

If someone with dementia is struggling to make sense of what is happening to them, helping them to reconnect with their values and beliefs may also offer them some comfort.

Learning disability

If a family member, friend or someone you care for has a learning disability resources are available to help with understanding death and bereavement. Click here for ‘When someone dies from coronavirus: a guide for families and carers.’

More specialist support is available from your community nurse (if you have one) alternatively ask your GP for a referral to the Community Learning Disability Specialist Health Services at The Ridge Hill Centre.