Cruel times indeed

Again this week, several friends and acquaintances have passed away.

Not one has been related to the pandemic swirling around the globe. Old age claimed some, heart troubles took others and horrible battles with cancer finally ended as they always sadly do.

Religious convictions and customs often dictate the fashion in which families mourn. Some cultures will genuinely celebrate the life and accomplishments of the departed. Others yet will greet the occasion of death with stoicism and unparalleled strength.

Regardless, a life has been lost. The tragedy of loss weighs heavy on those who remain behind.

With the current restrictions and social distancing requirements, families are forbidden from hosting an event of any size for friends, neighbours and extended family. Paying respects in person is but a distant memory now.

Instead people are making efforts to reach out with email, cards, phone calls and other technology that permits interaction but, it just isn’t the same. It feels incomplete despite all the talk about the future and the digital fantasyland that apparently lies ahead.

We feel for families and people caught up in this moment of despair, wanting to honour a departed soul. Most have scheduled events later this summer when gatherings may again be permitted.

At that time perhaps an overdue hug or firm handshake can be exchanged. It sounds odd, but the power of touch and what it does to comfort people who are hurting is indescribable. It is a moment of intimacy where no words need to be spoken – it’s just people caring for one another.

That’s why we see physical separation as one of the cruelest aspects of this whole crisis, particularly on occasions where loved ones need to be comforted. We are not robots, after all.