The COVID-19 pandemic has not only caused a tremendous amount of death, but it has also altered society’s ability to perform and experience the traditional rituals of dying, which are necessary to the grieving process.

In the new COVID-19 reality, to hold a loved one who is dying or grieving is risky (and sometimes forbidden) if you have not been quarantined together. Communal events such as funerals, memorials and burials are limited in the number of people who are allowed to attend. New protocols require the wearing of protective gear and maintaining physical distance. Sharing a meal or having family and friends over to memorialize is unsafe. People are dying alone, and loved ones are often unable to visit or allowed only at the very end. Additionally, some of these rituals are only able to happen in a virtual setting. These new procedures make the grieving process more difficult.

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