When the COVID-19 virus pandemic came to visit early in 2020 it was like that relative from hell that came knocking and wouldn’t leave.

Through the tears, fear and visual horror throughout the world, millions of people got sick with many sadly losing their lives. Here in Australia the cause and effect of requirements to restrict Funeral attendance in tandem with the emotional impact on families were dramatic.

No longer could any and everyone who chose to pay their respects could attend. Attendees were limited to a total of 10.  Our human rights of free movement with the ability to provide comfort and love through human touch were stripped away. Added to that, constraints were imposed to seating arrangements, the sanitizing of hands, the off-and-on requirement to wear a face mask and the implementation of an attendance register all became the norm.

Due to all of these restrictions, it made more sense to families to embrace and engage in a far easier pathway to preserve the reverence of such an occasion. The arranging of a cremation for their loved one with no immediate service and no attendees with the notion to follow up with a Memorial Service at a later date where families could again share their emotions and love without the myriad of restrictions clearly became the best and a sensible option.

The effect on Funeral Homes was also felt where the many hours of time and resources required to attend to a full traditional service were dramatically reduced to arrange a cremation where no immediate ceremony took place and with no attendees.

The myth that Funeral Homes would be busy proved to be incorrect certainly in Queensland with thankfully to date, a total of 6 deaths compared to a national total of 909.

Before the end of 2020, the numbers changed gear to 20, then to 100 and, as of February 2021, attendee numbers are limited to 200 albeit restrictions still apply to seating arrangements in accordance with the particular venue layout along with contact tracing requirements.

Regrettably, for the foreseeable future, until we are blessed with the eventual elimination of this virus that haunts our everyday lives, saying goodbye to our loved ones in the manner that we have been duly accustomed to, will be the victim of change.

However, as we can all only hope and pray for, is the restoration of some sort of normality for such an occasion.