“She was like the matriarch, she was the top chief of our whole family,” said Enoch Nicholson.
What You Need To Know
- Funeral homes continue to adjust to helping families cope with COVID deaths
- These funerals could be normal for a while longer, owner says
- More Coronavirus headlines
He looks at photos of Susan Chauvin, or Grammy, as he calls her, with a bittersweet look on his face.
“It went from two weeks where she was vibrant and thriving to her being gone, just by contracting COVID,” said Nicholson.
It was a hard goodbye made harder when the family couldn’t be there in person to give Grammy one more hug.
“The nurses up at the hospice unit went in there with their PPE on and just held her the phone. My sister sang Amazing Grace to her and that’s how we said goodbye,” said Nicholson.
It’s a story that has become too familiar to Terry and Tim Brett, co-owners of Brett Funeral Home. People seeing their loved ones for the first time since the pandemic - at their funeral.
“The whole dynamic has changed and it’s been tough for folks for sure,” said Terry Brett.
Thankfully, they say they haven’t seen a huge uptick in the need for their services - only about 10 percent of the cases they’ve handled over the last year were due to COVID-19.
But, they are used to seeing families and friends come together to heal, and that no longer exists.
“You know the hugging is gone, it’s hard not to put your hand out and shake hands,” said Tim Brett.
So the challenge has been offering comfort to families from a distance.
They’ve done their best, utilizing the ability to stream services online and welcome as many in-person guests as the county will allow.
But funerals like Grammy’s, with just 25 people in attendance in person, and hundreds online, could be a new normal for a while.
“I feel like our industry and the way that we celebrate lives and memorialize lives is definitely going to change,” said Terry.
But one thing that will never change is the ability to help each other heal, and to not take our loved ones for granted.
“I think maybe the silver lining might be we didn’t realize how important that was to us, and how valuable that is to help work through a loss. And that when we can start to embrace that again, that might be the silver lining,” said Terry.