Memorializing a loved one is one of the most honorable final duties you can have as a family member. Unfortunately, in 2020 it is also extremely challenging. Keeping up with family traditions, ensuring final wishes are kept, and coordinating funeral services are among the most emotional and stressful tasks. Our family opted for cremation and to post pone services until a later date. My father’s remains sit on an ancestral altar in our living room.
Making final arrangements during the Covid-19 pandemic also takes support and the strain on post life care providers has been devastating. Mortuaries across the country struggle to keep up with the demand and providing the level of compassionate service that we all have come to know and depend on. I want to personally salute So. Cal Cremations and Vistas Healthcare for making a difficult time easier for me and my family.
Earlier this month I wrote to the New York Times to share our family’s story. I received a message thanking me for providing insight for the following article:
Greetings Serenity Family, I wanted to share my experience of grief during this corona virus crisis. I dedicate this to my father who has transitioned, my family as we cope with the loss and those also healing from the pandemic. This is my story.
On March 21, 2020, I received a call from my 71-year-old father asking to be taken to the dentist for a tooth ache. Little did we know we would be thrown into a medical hurricane. He was in so much pain with his tooth he neglected to mention his other symptoms to me until I arrived at his home. My father was experiencing shortness of breath and vomiting.
After a telephone consultation with his doctor, I was advised to take him to the hospital. They admitted him immediately due to his age and symptoms. It wasn’t until the next day that I found out that my father had a heart attack, angioplasty surgery and was positive for the Corona virus. As someone now exposed, me and my entire household remained on the “Safer at home” quarantine. We took added precaution and monitored ourselves for symptoms over the next 14 days. We were fine.
Due to the quarantine I was unable to visit my father the hospital, and after a week of being admitted, he was placed on hospice. The decision to place him on hospice, under these circumstances, was devastating. As a former hospice medical social worker and after 22 days in the hospital with my late fiancé, I knew exactly how painful this would be. The hospital nurses and hospice team were amazing! They encouraged me to Zoom and Face Time with my father to stay connected.
Our entire family will suffer from not being able to be with my father during his final moments. This virus has changed not only the present, as altered age old cultural traditions. On April 4, 2020 my father transitioned. I was not able to see him in his final moments here on earth, to so touch him, to say ” Bye daddy, I love you.”
As I write this blog, there are 10, 467 victims in the US, with families, of the corona virus. Other daughters that won’t get chance to say goodbye. I am writing this blog series for them. I am writing this blog series for anyone who is re-traumatized by these losses of loved ones. I am writing to bring words for anyone who couldn’t say goodbye.