Like many, I lost a loved one during COVID. My mother died in a skilled nursing center in January, and due to the pandemic she died alone, unattended by her family due to the restrictions that were in place at her skilled nursing center. Instead of having a funeral to honor her life, seven of our family met at the cemetery and held a modest graveside service.
In the past 18 months, families have faced the challenge of grieving the passing of a loved one in a way no one has before. Restrictions placed limitations on support systems and gatherings that we had always taken for granted, such as funeral visitations and services, accented with flowers, platters filled with cold cuts and baked casseroles. What is already deemed difficult was made even more difficult because families were denied the ministry of their churches and therefore grieved in isolation.
I think it is important for churches, many of which locked their doors to the grief stricken during the pandemic, to provide a service of remembrance for those who died during the pandemic. This would allow the corporate church to grieve with families and provide them the corporate support they needed. Churches did not have the freedom during the pandemic to serve as they traditionally would have served, but let’s not make that an excuse to not circle back and provide the ministry that families still need and would welcome.