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The death of a loved one is always a painful experience. When that loved one passes away during a global pandemic, it adds an entirely new level of stress. COVID-19 has changed our lives in countless ways, but one of the most emotionally difficult factors is the way it’s prevented us from mourning in traditional ways.

Many people in our nation and around the world have lost loved ones to COVID-19, and as cases continue to rise, more people will experience this tragedy. Unlike other illnesses, like cancer, this virus makes it impossible for family members to even visit with and comfort a loved one during the final hours. Then, to further add to the trauma, they’re not able to gather as they normally would to grieve, find support, and begin the healing process. If you’re experiencing this isolation while you’re grieving, what can you do?

  • Connect digitally. There are plenty of options for digital gatherings, and you can use one of these platforms to come together for an online funeral service.
  • Consider an immediate family only service. Some funeral homes are allowing this option and even offering to live stream it for those who cannot attend. Check with your funeral home, as some places are only allowing outdoor services, with social distancing measures in place.
  • Share happy memories. Get creative, going beyond phone calls and emails to create virtual collages and photobooks that can help you all remember the person you loved.
  • Make plans for the future. Talk to your friends and family, and plan to hold a memorial service after the pandemic is over. The positive side of this delay is that there’s plenty of time to plan a beautiful tribute to your loved one.

If someone you know has lost a loved one during this difficult time, make sure to reach out. Handwritten cards are a great way to let someone know that he or she is not alone, and if you’re invited to view the online guestbook, make sure to sign it. You might also send a considerate gift to the family, like a restaurant gift card, flowers, or a gift basket, or make a charitable donation. Provide a listening ear, even if it’s just over the phone during this time when you can’t see the person face to face.

The Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of San Jose is committed to providing a sacred place, where you and your family can remember loved ones in a peaceful and hope-filled setting. If you have questions, we’re happy to answer them. We have three locations: Calvary Catholic Cemetery in San Jose, Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Los Altos, and St. John the Baptist Cemetery in Milpitas. For more information, contact us through our website, or call Calvary at 833-428-0379, Gate of Heaven at 833-304-0763, or St. John the Baptist at 833-428-0379.

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