October 24, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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COVID-19 is changing our relationship to grief

COVID-19 is changing our relationship to grief

(Edmonton) Death experts say the pandemic has changed not only the way we live our lives, but also the way we view death.


Fakiha Beg
The Canadian Press

Since March, nearly 14,000 Canadians have died from COVID-19. Durief Kham, who was an inseparable companion to death, became even more difficult for many. But a funeral home director and deceased expert said the families they met during the epidemic were also more aware of the value of life.

“Perhaps in all cultures and beliefs of the world, there is a custom at the time of death or crisis,” said Stephen Fleming, a professor of psychology at York University in Toronto.

Karma often comes in the form of behaviors and thoughts that have symbolic meaning. When this happens, we can appreciate the sense of community and security that allows us to express our emotions and observe death.

Stephen Fleming, professor of psychology at York University

But during the epidemic, saying goodbye to a loved one on the phone, without holding their hand, made death even more painful, recalls Professor Fleming, who wrote extensively about death. “This kind of human compassion and attachment, which is no longer possible, leads to feelings of extreme loneliness and even sows the seeds of despair. ”

Different characters

Due to health restrictions on funerals in many provinces, funeral homes must quickly “reinvent” their services. David Root of the Alberta Funeral Homes Association said it had become very important to discuss with them how to deal with du rief khan, as families have lost traditional funeral rites.

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“We have seen many families feel guilty for not being able to stay at their loved one’s bed […] Because they can’t cross the Canada-US border, ”said Pearson Funeral Home Director in Calgary.

In general, Mr. Root argues that funeral service professionals and executioners in Canada have observed that North Americans reject the idea of ​​death. “We deny our own deaths and death is a clinical experience: people go to the hospital or home and die there. Elsewhere in the world, death happens mostly at home and with families.”

Two experts agree that the way Canadians view death has changed since COVID-19 hit Canada in March. “The families we see are beginning to appreciate the value of the whole grieving process […] And understand what death is, there is nothing we can do about it, ”Root said.

Two experts believe the pandemic has made Canadians more sensitive to the value of life, as they have been prevented from watching, talking to each other and staying at the bed of their dying loved ones.

“As a nation, I believe and hope that we will learn these lessons after vaccination,” Professor Fleming added. “It simply came to our notice then. This country allows COVID to teach us about our lives, not define our existence. ”

This article was created with the financial support of Facebook and The Canadian Press News Scholarships.