The National Day of Reflection – A day to reflect, grieve and remember – 23 March 2021
The National Day of Reflection on 23 March 2021 marks the first anniversary of the date that the first lockdown started. Over 3 million people have been bereaved since the first lockdown began. Behind the statistics and whatever the cause, every death has been devastating for their loved ones. Many of those bereaved have not been able to hold loved one’s hands as they were dying, properly say goodbye, comfort or even hug each other. They have been unable to mourn as they would in ‘normal’ times and will be more likely to struggle with the long-term effects of grief.
St Richard’s community volunteer Sally Guillaume has seen first-hand how coronavirus has had a massive impact on those who are grieving.
Sally began delivering food packages to a widower whose wife had died in the hospice early in the pandemic. Then, when Covid-restrictions allowed, Sally was able to sit in the garden and chat during visits or indoors with masks and social distancing.
“The gentleman lost his wife in early 2020 so has spent all of his grieving during a time of Covid-restrictions,” said Sally. “Consequently, he has spent much more time on his own as he hasn’t been able to have visitors or go out and meet people. This extreme lack of human contact for him has meant he’s been existing rather than living and it has amplified his feelings of both grief and loneliness.”
Sally added, “He struggles to see meaning in his life as Covid restrictions have affected his ability to be able to take those initial steps forward since the loss of his wife. Having some contact has helped him feel there are people out there that care and that someone is thinking of him. My visits break-up the hours and days he spends on his own and enable him to have much-needed human contact, however restricted this has been.”
Recently Sarah from the hospice catering team made a 90th birthday cake which Sally delivered to show he was not alone on this special day.
The hospice team has supported 644 bereaved people during the last 12 months including 50 individuals who have been bereaved by Covid-19.