Los Angeles Times: My Mother Died in April of Cancer. Coronavirus Robbed Us of Closure.
Reporter Sarah Elizabeth Richards recently interviewed Bronwen Jones, MTheol, an interfaith chaplain at Cedars-Sinai Cancer, for a first-person Los Angeles Times article about the challenges and anguish of trying to process the cancer death of a loved one in the time of COVID-19 (coronavirus).
In the article, Richards writes that she was struggling with how to grieve weeks after her mother died.
“How could we mourn when we couldn’t gather?” Richards asked Jones.
Jones' response noted that the final weeks of a cancer patient’s life are an important time for family members to “get the courage” to have intimate, hard conversations, the chaplain told the reporter. Richards’ family lost that chance to talk to their mother about death.
“You can’t have those [conversations] when you can’t visit,” Jones said.
Jones recommended that the reporter set a date for a “celebration of life” gathering, anticipating that at some point, friends and family will be able to assemble as a group. Even if that date isn’t until next spring, it is important to get a date on the calendar.
“People will feel better because [the gathering] is no longer uncertain,” Jones said to Richards.
The chaplain also recommended that those who lose family members during the pandemic make time to privately grieve and process the death of loved ones. Grieving in a timely manner is especially important when a death is unexpected, she said.
Be creative when undertaking that process, Jones told the reporter. For example, light a candle during important moments or play music that a loved one especially liked. Talk to friends and share memories of your loved one. Also, find meaning in nature, such as feeling a loved one’s presence in the form of a butterfly or a beautiful natural setting.
“You just want to find a way to bring her into your heart, so you don’t feel alone,” Jones said.
Click here to read the complete story from the Los Angeles Times.