Manitoba families planning second or delayed funeral services

Click to play video: 'Holding second funerals for family members'
Holding second funerals for family members
Families across Manitoba are choosing to hold a second funeral for loved ones who died during the COVID-19 pandemic. Joe Scarpelli reports – Aug 16, 2021

Manitoba families are looking into planning for a second or delayed funeral service now that restrictions have been loosened.

Plenty of families have lost loved ones over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and have not been able to say goodbye properly due to restrictions on gathering.

Glen Talbot from Arbor Memorial told Global News that part of the grieving process is to acknowledge that someone has died and to share stories and words of encouragement.

“I think, you know, as Canadians, when we go through something difficult, we always rely on being together and sharing our feelings and being able to acknowledge that, that death has occurred.”

Talbot said over the last few weekends they have heard a lot of stories about grandchildren who were not able to say goodbye to their grandparents.

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“Over the weekend we had a service where, you know, a grandchild got up and delivered the eulogy and it was very emotional.”

“She talked about the fact that she was not able to be at the bedside when the death occurred, then for the last year and a half, she was not able to really say goodbye.”

Talbot said they have seen a lot of interest in services and a lot of emotional stories in the last few weeks.

Funeral homes are preparing to hold larger services once again for families who have recently lost someone or for families who want to hold a second or delayed service.

“Our funeral homes are being cleaned, every service we have hand sanitizer, we still encourage families to wear masks, we still encourage families to, you know, to socially distance when they’re not part of the same household,” he said.

Psychologist Syras Derksen told 680 CJOB that there are going to be lots of different reactions to holding a delayed funeral.

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“My guess is a lot of people as they go into this and into a funeral are going to feel like they’re finally able to honour that person.”

Derksen said where it’s going to be mixed is for some people who have been waiting for a long time to hold a service.

“Finally we can humanize this person in a sense like we can honour them and yet also now, it’s like, it’s been a long time and so now to kind of bring all this up … I think there’s going to be a lot of different feelings, it’s going to be very confusing for people.”

Gillian Lavallee lost her husband Arthur on Oct. 18, 2020, and she is planning a funeral for him in October 2021, a full year after his passing.

During the time of Arthur’s death, the COVID-19 restrictions were no more than five to 10 people at a gathering. Lavallee said his grandchildren alone were more than the number of people allowed so they decided to hold the service when restrictions had loosened, which worked out to be a full year later.

Lavallee said having a service — even if it is a year later — is important to her.

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“You need to be able to say goodbye because the grieving is hard, you know, he just went. When I got that phone call and they said he had just passed away … it was hard … even though you knew eventually it was going to happen in a few days…. It was just hard.”

“I miss him. I miss my husband.”

Click to play video: 'Manitoba families planning second funeral services'
Manitoba families planning second funeral services

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