A Strange Way to Grieve

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A Strange Way to Grieve

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My father-in-law had an accident last April and passed away about ten days later. He was brought to the hospital in the middle of the pandemic. Nobody was allowed to visit and be with him. My husband was able to speak to him over the speaker phone. He missed seeing him in person. The doctors only would allow visitors in the last moments near death. My husband did not make it in time. Later, he had to retrieve his cremated remains from the car in a sort of curbside pick-up fashion. It was very awkward for him. The usual quiet moments in this situation did not happen. We wanted to hold a memorial for my father-in-law, but because of covid19, we kept pushing it back saying to ourselves, “Well, maybe in October…Maybe in December…” Now we have decided to forgo a traditional memorial for an online one. Soon in March we will have a Zoom memorial with a slideshow of pictures, video, and music, and it will be on his birthday. We hope people will make some remarks. It is stressful getting this together, and I hope it goes well on Zoom. None of us are experts with any of this technology. Handling the affairs of a loved one’s life when they have died is hard enough in normal times. It is even harder during a pandemic.
As I write this journal entry I think about my husband and the hardship he and his side of the family has gone through during this time. Knowing them, they would not want to share anything like this on a public archive. I am involved in this grief, but it is different for me. My role is mainly to support. For an archive like this, its collection is all decided on what the public wants to share. Emotionally difficult stories like this may not be shared firsthand as often. My story is also not in depth as it could be if I were the person centrally involved in this grief. I hope that future historians read stories like mine and realize how strange and difficult this time was for grieving people. Nothing is normal. Having a memorial where people get together and support each other through grief with kind words, pats on the back, and long hugs is totally out of the question. We just have to do the next best thing and move on with our lives as we cope with an uncertain future and wonder when life will go back to the way it was before the pandemic or if we have truly lost this aspect of our culture, customs, and traditions.

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This item was submitted on February 25, 2021 by [anonymous user] using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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