How do we gather and grieve well when COVID19 prevents us from being together in person? If you live-stream a funeral, can you live-stream a hug or a luncheon? How long-lasting are the individual and collective effects of complicated grief? And what can we do now to minimize that trauma and maximize healthy grief instead — for individuals, families, communities, and the world?
A panel of experts from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds discusses what funerals and grief might look like during this global pandemic and beyond, moderated by Chaplain Zac Willette of Allay Care Services. You can find the presentation slides for this webinar here.
Alua Arthur, Going with Grace
Alua supports people as they answer the question ‘What must I do to be at peace with myself so that I may live presently and die peacefully?’ She is a death doula, attorney, and the founder of an end of life planning organization called Going with Grace.
Rabbi Steve Kaye, American Red Cross Disaster Spiritual Care
Rabbi Kaye is a congregational organizational consultant and coach, Denver, CO. He also serves the American Red Cross as the Spiritual Care Advisor for Colorado/Wyoming.
Casper ter Kuile, Sacred Design Lab
Casper works to create a culture of belonging and becoming as the co-founder of Sacred Design Lab. A Ministry Innovation Fellow at Harvard Divinity School, he co-hosts the award-winning podcast Harry Potter and the Sacred Text and is author of The Power of Ritual: Turning Everyday Activities into Soulful Practices.
Glenda Stansbury, Licensed Funeral Director
Glenda is the CEO of InSight Books publishing company, a licensed funeral director/embalmer, a mortuary school professor, creator and lead trainer for InSight Institute Certified Funeral Celebrants program.
Perla Torres, Colibrí Center for Human Rights
Perla serves families who have experienced loss at the border — building solidarity, community, and a movement. She is the Family Network Director of the Colibrí Center for Human Rights and a former Case Manager for the Office of Refugee Resettlement with HHS.
A number of resources were referenced during the call:
- CDC statement “Interim Guidance for Administrators and Leaders of Community- and Faith-Based Organizations to Plan, Prepare, and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)“
- Rabbi Steve Kay’s resources on Predicate Theology
- David Kessler, “That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief“
- Caspter ter Kuile’s new book The Power of Ritual
- Glenda Stansbury’s resource Ceremonies to Celebrate Together from Afar
- US Department of Health and Human Services statement “Recommended Preventative Practices and FAQs for Faith-based and Community Leaders“
- Newspaper articles including:
- ‘A generation has died’: Italian province struggles to bury its coronavirus dead (The Guardian, 19 March 2020)
- Coronavirus: How Covid-19 is denying dignity to the dead in Italy (BBC, 25 March 2020)
- In an Italian city, obituaries fill the newspaper, but survivors mourn alone (Washington Post, 16 March 2020)
- ‘There are no funerals:’ Death in quarantine leaves nowhere to grieve (Reuters, 19 March 2020)
- Additional resources
- Oregon Funeral Resources and Education, Pandemic Care Guide
- The Order of the Good Death, Funerals and Dying in Absentia: Inspiration and Tips During COVID-19
- Creative Rituals for death in the times of COVID-19, from Pia Interlandi
- Funeral Consumers Alliance, 2020 FCA Postponed funerals with Josh Slocum