Every day there have been hundreds of deaths across the UK and thousands across the world. Sometimes the numbers feel so big, it is overwhelming. For some the fear of getting sick has become an obsession. I feel there is a need to put things in their perspective and take some joy in the simple things which make a life worth living.
Part of my new morning routine now is keeping in touch with those I care about. Needless to say, the news often includes the passing of someone whose life touched ours through a friend of a friend. I read that the number who have been lost is now over 50,000 in the UK, so it seems like a good time to share some humble ways to honour those who have passed.
Don’t Get Me Started
Excuse me whilst I take a moment to set aside the total unfairness of it all plus the rage that we seem to be unable to get a grip on this. Seriously, don’t get me started or I’ll wind up restating some current knowledge – which may be completely irrelevant tomorrow!
The truth at the heart of now is that we are beginning to understand that this virus is far more deadly than many first passed off as a no worse than a cold. At one point, people thought it wouldn’t spread too fast around the UK. The next, we’re one of the worst hit countries.
“I’m so sorry for your loss,” – no matter how heartfelt these words are, it often feels that it is not enough. And at other times, between blinking back tears and the catch in the throat, that the loss threatens to overrun all else. None of us should ever take for granted again that we will have all the time in the world.
Celebrate the Life
With social distancing, it is even harder to be there for someone who is grieving. However, many florists are still able to deliver flowers. Sympathy Flora continue to offer their 24 hour service for their super fast letter tribute and flowers are delivered on the same day if you order them by 2 pm.
I think taking 30 minutes out to recall a memory and put the words together to give to someone else is a great, humble use of my time. I hope you feel the same.
Sometimes there are so many, it is hard to choose the best memory. But then I remind myself that it doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be shared. I often follow up with a further note and flowers or a call a few weeks later because I often recall something even more poignant.
Talking About How You Would Like to Be Celebrated
Not being able to hold a funeral or memorial service just now is one of the many changes wrought by lockdown. However, it also provides a way to speak humbly about how to honour them when we can. I’m hoping that the mass graves which have been prepared will be turned into memorial parks as befitting their passing.
However, I also wondered if we could speak with those who have not had the rights to hold the wake or the funeral which they may have wanted. And so with this in mind, I’ve decided that if it was to happen to anyone I knew, I would consider building a rock garden or something similar, and plant something to remember them.
For me, this is a better option than taking up something which they enjoyed doing, but I’m always happy to try out someone’s favourite recipe.
Sometimes the brave thing to do, is simply to reach out and ask gently. Sometimes people want to do something on their own. Others want to just have time to speak when they are ready. If you get that call, do make the time when they need it.
A Word About Online Memorials
Another way to honour those who have passed is to provide a online memorial for a friend, just check in with the family first though if needed. Telling the story of your friend’s life can be a great way to celebrate how much they livid, despite having to go.
I think it is also appropriate to ask the family, if they have a memorial site whether they would like some help curating it, removing rude contributions, and spam. Unfortunately, that happens all too much. Regardless, if you really want to honour your friend, do reach out to those who were touched by them so they can contribute if they want.
Not to Be Morbid, But
Life has far too many regrets for most people. If nothing else, the current crisis may help you redefine how you want to go about living the days you have. And because there are so many passing, a little extra consideration, a little more patience is needed rather than the hate rage running rampant on some main stream media channels.
For me this translates into action, helping prevent some of the “I wish I had told them” regret into “I’m so glad I took the time to reach out”. Chances are that with a 1 in 7 death rate in the UK (based on the reported numbers), that dark silence will come too soon for someone you know. Let their life live on in the many little things they left behind.