Grenada’s Ministry of Health has implemented specific measures to keep citizens safe before, during, and after funerals.
The first part of memorial service within churches is not permitted. Health protocols also prohibit burials having more than 20 people in attendance. Only a minimum of 2 people can officially identify the remains of the deceased before the coffin is sealed. Gatherings of persons from different households are discouraged, disrupting traditions such as third-night prayers and visits to the homes of the bereaved to console.
Because of these repercussions and more, Central Health-Grenada is highlighting how these multiple layers cause trauma through a new October Series entitled “Grief, Grenada & Covid,” as the death of a loved one during these ‘covidious’ times can cause additional levels of emotional stress.
The first 2 installments of Grief, Grenada & Covid lean on Bishop Clyde Harvey Roman Catholic Diocese of St George’s in Grenada and Rev. Gerard Keens-Douglas, Senior Pastor of St George’s Evangelical Church and Moderator for ECWI – Grenada, for advice. Spiritual leaders play a significant role in helping persons cope during types of crises. This strategy is recognised and encouraged by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
In a 2020 Interim Guidance entitled, Practical considerations and recommendations for religious leaders and faith-based communities in the context of Covid-19: interim guidance, 7 April 2020 (who.int) there is a subsection that focuses on safe burial practices. Within that portion, it states, “Faith leaders can help grieving families to ensure that their departed loved ones receive respectful, appropriate funerals and burial rites, even in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.” The document not only recognises that mourners should be shown respect but also included, “If the family of the deceased wishes to view the body after its removal from the medical facility where the family member has died, they may be allowed to do so, in accordance with local physical distancing restriction, with no touching or kissing of the body and thorough handwashing before and after viewing.”
Bishop Clyde Harvey answers to questions:
- How is a person supposed to wrap their mind around what has happened, plus missing the usual funeral process?
- Any final words of comfort for those who are experiencing loss?
Rev. Gerard Keens-Douglas responds to:
- The impact of the protocols on the grieving process.
- Request for words of comfort for those who are grieving.
Central Health-Grenada extends condolences to families who have lost someone due to Covid or other causes. It is the hope this October series can help someone.
Central Health-Grenada is a grassroots initiative. Its purpose is to educate nationals about chronic non-communicable diseases. As Covid-19 has devastating effects on persons with pre-existing conditions, Central Health-Grenada felt it important to highlight its impact on those most at risk.