Funeral celebrant Dawn Louise talks about funerals and coronavirus.
Funeral celebrant Dawn Louise talks about funerals and coronavirus.

How coronavirus is changing the way we say goodbye

CORONAVIRUS has brought most of the world to a standstill, but there are some things that simply can't be stopped, like the need to say goodbye to a loved one.

New restrictions to manage the spread of the virus mean only 10 people can attend a funeral and they each have to remain four square metres apart.

Ipswich funeral celebrant Dawn Louise said it was devastating for both families and the industry.

"It's impacted in the way that families can't meet in the way they would normally meet and grieve together at a funeral service," she said.

"I think on top of having to face the fact that someone they love has died, now they have to navigate how they deal with what happens to the person after they've died.

"They can only have eight people in the room because the 10 people has to include the funeral director and a celebrant.

"A lot of the local funeral homes in Ipswich are offering livestreaming for free and a lot of funeral homes are also taking bookings for memorial services down the track for when this is over and people can all get together again and celebrate the life of the person who has passed away."

Ms Louise said she had been met with some confusion from families in the past few days who had arrived at services with members from their own household, yet they were unable to embrace or hold each other during the service.

She said the industry was doing all it could to help families where possible.

"I've done funerals over the past few days where the funeral director has stepped out of the room for the entire service so they could have nine people in there," she said.

"I've had services on Friday, where I did three services in a row for the same person who died.

"I didn't take any more money for those three services. They are just things that we are doing to make sure that people can still say goodbye in the best way for them."

Despite the devastating impacts of the restrictions, Ms Louise said it was necessary to help flatten the curve.

"I feel very positively that the government of the day is doing everything they can to minimise the outcomes of this virus and I firmly believe that even though it's really hard for people on many different levels, that if we all do the right thing, it will be a much shorter period of time than if we all ignore it."



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