As we enter a “new world’ with COVID-19 changing our lives…

As we socially distance and are told not to hug or handshake let us create a new symbol for love and respect by simply holding our hand over our heart and share a smile… it’s all about human connection

I watch my almost 91 year old father slowly digest that the whole world is changing due to an invisable enemy, COVID-19. It has taken him time to digest this. But I want him to fully understand, protect himself and be aware because he is in the high risk group to get very, very sick or die should he get this virus. I too, maybe like you, am grappling with the changes to our society that is occurring daily, if not hour by hour some days, as we see the infection numbers and deaths rise, not to mention the slowness of recovery for some of those who get the virus.

However, I greatly believe that this pandemic will prompt people to pause and actively look at their life.

What’s most important to them? What do they value the most? Who do they want to speak on their behalf and what are their wishes should they lose the capacity to voice their own healthcare decisions?

If you need help to have these conversations; to plan and document what is most important to you; to write your story to leave to the generations or your friends, to make funeral plans; or just to talk about any end of life concerns – please contact me

As an End of Life Doula I can support people to explore these issues. And I have the agility to do many of the services I provide, virtually – phone calls, Skype/Zoom consults, electronic mediums. Will it be different to engage this way? Absolutely! There is nothing quite like the human connection when face to face with a person – but as a community we will have to adapt. We will adapt. And we will one day return to a lifestyle hopefully similar in quality to the one we lived in pre-COVID-19. I am hopeful that in the craziness of it all, that Australians (and the world) will come out of this with an amazing resilience, fortitude, innovative-ness and most of all compassion.

But before we get to the ‘endgame’ too many people will die from this pandemic, or as a consequence of pre-existing conditions that just exacerbate the risk for death. And governments will mandate new and evolving changes in how we can conduct funeral ceremonies and memorials. But we know for a fact that

Funerals are an important rite of passage in our journey of life, not just for the people we are saying goodbye to, but for those of us who are left behind.

(Australian Funeral Directors Association)

So with the evolving COVID-19, there will be questions about funerals and ceremonies including memorial services as group gatherings are restricted; and potentially stopped temporarily into the future. And I offer again my services across a virtual environment whilst we are expected to social distance or isolate.

It is still possible to have a meaningful ceremony as I am available to meet with families and friends through phone calls or virtually so that we can explore how we together can create a ceremony that respects and represents the person who has died; whilst allowing those who are grieving to express their stories and feelings. At the time of writing this (26 March 2020) small groups can attend a funeral so I can assist in this part of the ceremony unless further restrictions arise.

And as the structure of ceremony changes ,  I can assist to officiate ceremonies through virtual links; or to advise on how to undertake other ‘rituals’ for those who cannot attend in person or virtually.

As an independent Funeral Celebrant, you can contact me directly.  I am open and available to adapt the consultations and ceremonies that I officiate to meet this potential emerging need; and for those who wish to have a memorial later on – then we can commence discussions and planning as this is very important in this time of loss and grief. Look after yourself and please don’t hesitate to contact me anytime.

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