The Worst Time to Die: COVID-19 & the Resources We Need

The Worst Time to Die: COVID-19 & the Resources We Need

Babies are still being born. People are still dying of other, “regular” causes and “regular” tragedies. Lives are being changed by a cancer diagnosis and others are being cured. Life is moving ahead despite how on-hold it all feels.

And while there is NEVER, ever, ever, ever  a “good” time to die. Ever. It seems that we are living through the worst time to die or experience the death of someone you love.

Because of restrictions, just 10 people, in some cases not even whole families, can attend a funeral ceremony. While many funeral homes offer webcasting for free, it’s a poor substitute. Families are facing a devastating loss followed by an inability to properly mourn that loss.

Alone Together or Alone Alone?

I keep reading and hearing “#alonetogether” and it’s a lovely, encouraging thought. But when we feel alone and we are alone, that sentiment is little more than empty words. Bereaved people look to moments like the funeral to be assured that they are not alone. When we can’t see the full broad expanse of community impact and support, the alone-ness must feel deep.

I feel a deep ache and heavy concern for the families and friends denied the funeral ceremony and it’s transitional power. Funerals are a pivotal space for a bereaved community. Friends and family come to say their final goodbyes and leave having conquered that terrifying and monumental task.
People do the impossible in our walls. 

But when so many are denied this moment, my heart breaks. What will grief journeys be like when the space for farewell is delayed, or worse, never offered?

With the limitations on all gatherings of any kind, joyful or mournful, people world-wide are experiencing many, many forms of loss. Additionally, there is no one to turn to for comfort who isn’t discomforted themselves. The emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs arising out of this pandemic are very real.

So, in anticipation of these needs, I want to offer some ideas and ways for us to practically begin putting into action self-care that goes beyond our physical health.

Below is a list of various mental and spiritual health ideas or organizations that are online and easily accessible.
  • Spiritual Direction – I have been seeing my spiritual director for almost a year. The one hour of the month that I spend with her is precious, precious time. When I leave I feel heard, cared for and challenged into growth. It’s refreshing and calming –  I can breath again. Spiritual Directors are trained, skilled listeners that ask deep questions. A good spiritual director will create a safe space of intentional listening with openness and non-judgement. Most spiritual directors are able to offer Zoom or other ways to meet virtually.
  • Teletherapy – Did you ever think you could find and see a therapist through an app? There are now many specialized services out there for those seeking professional guidance. If you even have the smallest pinch of curiosity I would encourage you from the truest part of me to go after it. Therapy has been a gift in my life that continues to give even years after I finished my sessions. Go.
    • BetterHelp – has over 3,000 licensed and trained therapists with wide ranges of specialties.
    • ReGain – specializes in couples therapy, which is likely VERY needed as we shelter-in-place right now.
    • For a list of other specialized therapy services that can be found online, click here.
My favorites:

(Please note, this is a simple list of places I’ve found solace, peace, laughter and hope as I’ve sheltered at home with 2 small children. This is a personal list of things that are really just making my life better right now).

      • Some Good News – created and hosted by John Krasinski (aka Jim from The Office) to feature beautiful, uplifting stories. If you haven’t watched these yet, prepare for happy and heart-warming tears and full belly-laughs. These are a MUST.
      • Calm – a beautiful app that offers anything from inspiring daily quotes to meditation and sleep stories. Follow them on Instagram, Facebook or learn more here.
      • Unlocking Us – Brené Brown’s new podcast, specifically this episode with bereavement expert and Elizabeth Kübler-Ross protegé, David Kessler. Their conversation over bereavement and how COVID-19 is impacting us has given me so much freedom and food-for-thought.
      • Virtual Wine & Cheese night – I’ve done quite a few of these now with my in-laws and other close friends. Sharing a favorite drink while snacking and catching up through a Zoom or Facetime call can be surprisingly fun and easy. We may have felt awkward about this before COVID but I think many of us are missing our people enough right now that any way we can be together in real-time is truly a blessing.

My hope is that no matter where you are on the spectrum of bereavement you might find something uplifting, deepening, and healing in these offerings. A friend of mine said to me, “If we come out of this thing the same way we went in, we’ve done it wrong.” And while I think COVID is changing all of us – let’s do what we can to find transformation, courage, and hope as we continue to walk into the unknown.

Molly Keating
Molly Keating
Hello! I'm Molly and I run & manage the Blog here at O'Connor. I grew up in a mortuary with a mortician for a father who's deep respect for the profession inspired me to give working at a mortuary a try. Work at O'Connor has brought together two of my deep passions, writing & grief awareness. In 2016 I earned Certification in the field of Thanatology, the study of Death, Dying and Bereavement. I am honored to be able to speak on these taboo topics with knowledge, compassion, and a unique perspective. I want to sincerely thank you for following & reading the blog, I hope that this is a healing place for you.


  1. Eileen Litchfield says:

    Thank you Molly! Such an excellent piece. It is so hard to adjust from “doing your best” to “doing the best that you can”. Two very different concepts really. But your resources are invaluable to grievers and others.

    • Molly Keating says:

      Eileen! I can’t thank you enough for this comment. I so appreciate your turn-of-phrase because it is SO significant. “The best we can” is the new normal and while there’s some freedom in it, I think there’s a lot more that’s tough about it. Thank you for reading and sharing that <3

  2. Eugene Zimmerman says:

    Molly, saying a “final” goodbye to the person whose life has just been celebrated may be possible for some, but not necessarily all.
    I’m thinking of surviving spouses. I know many widows and widowers who never re-married, that still feel heartache when remembering their loved one.

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