Families left 'heartbroken' as funeral services are forced to change during lockdown

As news of the coronavirus lockdown extension was announced earlier this week, bereavement services have spoken of the impact that the guidelines are having on the industry.

Celebrant Julia Page, from Llantwit Major, has said that some families are being "left heartbroken" with the current situation.

"Families are heartbroken but I think that [funerals] should definitely continue because it is at least giving people an opportunity to say goodbye to their loved ones.

"It is difficult because it is such an intrinsic part of the process and having that emotional connection with people is important."

Funeral Director Tyrone Griffiths echoed the thoughts of Julia, saying, "It is just the uncertainty of the situation" that has been causing issues.

Tyrone Griffiths has said that his work has changed amid the coronavirus pandemic Credit: ITV Wales

The social distancing guidelines have asked people to maintain a two metre distance from each other. This is in place during funeral services as well, which Tyrone believes has made things a lot tougher for grieving families and friends, who can no longer comfort each other with a hug.

Additionally, the Church in Wales announced funerals could only go ahead if fewer than 10 people attend the service. However, only emergency baptisms are allowed.

A number of bereavement services have said that changes are 'really tough' Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

The Archbishop of Wales John Davies spoke of the troubles that families have been facing during this difficult time, with bishops taking the decision to not hold large church services.

He said, "It is so difficult, Wales is one of those places where people turn up to funerals in large numbers."

The Most Reverend John Davies, Archbishop of Wales has described the situation as 'terribly, terribly difficult'. Credit: Church in Wales

Despite the changes, there are some ways that families and friends can still come together to celebrate life and connect with each other, according to Julia Page.

Julia said, "The first contact I usually have with families is when the directors give me their name and I meet them to get information about the individual but that is instead being done over the phone."

"The structure is still the same though and the feedback I have had from families has been really nice, a lot of people have been grateful for the way in which services have been done."

Another celebrant, Lisa Kendell, expressed other ways that families can stay connected during their grief, saying, "You can invite your family and friends to a virtual meeting at a time that they can dedicate to someone."