Quebec researchers to study ‘delayed grief’ caused by COVID-19 pandemic restrictions

Click to play video: 'COVID-19 delays mourning and disrupts grieving, study says'
COVID-19 delays mourning and disrupts grieving, study says
If you’ve had a loved one pass away during the pandemic you know that the grieving process has been very different than other years. A group of researchers from Quebec are now trying to identify how dealing with loss without a regular funeral has affected families left behind. Dan Spector reports – Dec 22, 2020

Researchers from the Université de Montréal are looking into the impact of dealing with loss during the COVID-19 pandemic, which forbids families from holding traditional funeral ceremonies.

Teaming up with funeral homes in Quebec, the study will look at delayed and disrupted mourning and the impacts that has on families and loved ones left grieving someone who passed since the beginning of the health crisis last March.

According to funeral home manager Marie-Eve Garneau from Garneau Thanatologue funeral service, limited capacity due to social distancing measures has caused mourners to make “heartbreaking choices” with regards to which family members get to attend the very small services.

“Going through a pandemic is already something that is hard enough. If you add grief to it, it takes people to a whole other dimension,” Garneau told Global News.

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Garneau added that many families are opting to delay funeral services to when larger gatherings are permitted. “There are cremated remains that have been waiting here since March,” Garneau said.

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For Isabelle Garneau, a woman whose father passed away in September, the pandemic has kept her away from those closest to her when she needed them most, she told Global News.

“Which is exactly what you need during that time,” Isabelle said. Isabelle added that the experience has been bizarre, and she believes more painful than if she were to have lost her father during normal circumstances.

The Université de Montréal research team is asking others who have experienced a loss during the pandemic to fill out this survey so they can gather more data.

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