If you’re suffering from pandemic fatigue – as many of us are as we near a year since the outbreak began – one Maltese woman’s description of a COVID-19 funeral is a stark reminder of how serious the situation remains.
“Surreal – that’s how to describe a COVID-19 funeral,” she recalled.
The woman, who prefers to be unnamed, was invited to attend a funeral only a few hours after the victim’s death.
“Everyone was in shock. The funeral was held just six hours later. There was no time to feel grief, absolutely nothing,” she told Lovin Malta.
“It’s a very weird affair. No funeral is ‘nice’ but these are the pits, given that many family members were in quarantine.”
The grief will settle in eventually, but during the ceremony, she continued, there was a general sense of surreal confusion.
In just a few hours, the coffin was procured, the body prepared, the memorial cards printed. The church, flowers and singers were booked.
The last time the family saw the victim was in a stretcher with an oxygen mask, taken away by paramedics.
It was a funeral in an almost empty church.
“The coffin was shrouded in plastic. The pallbearers dressed up in Tyvek Suits. The absence of close family members of the deceased, as they’re all quarantined in their respective houses.”
“The near-empty church, with just a handful of people attending in socially distanced groups. Extended family. Neighbours. People nodding at each other “kif spiċċajna“, “tal-bliegħ“, “imma ma kienitx toħroġ?!”
This comes despite Superintendent for Public Health Charmaine Gauci officially dismissing the need for hazmat suits and plastic wrap for COVID-19 victims, so long as the bodies are in body bags and masks are worn.
After the funeral experience, she said she hoped this serves as a wake-up call to those breaking the rules.
“If anyone needs a reminder of how serious this is, I’d drag them to see the stunned relatives.”
This article was updated following a request by the family. The family did not request this article to be written and the information was supplied by somebody who attended the funeral and wanted to share the experience to remind people about the seriousness of Covid-19.
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