Stock picture by Buda Mendes
Stock picture by Buda Mendes

‘Sob on their own’: Heartbreaking new reality of funerals

LOCALS experiencing the death of a family member are among the hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions according to Ballina funeral official Sharon Cadwallader.

Ms Cadwallader who officiated a funeral service on Friday shared an insight to what families are going through.

"They were all distanced apart in the chapel," Ms Cadwallader said.

"It sent a shiver down my spine.

"Normally people would be holding hands or have an arm around each other's shoulders, to see people sobbing on their own, it really was heartbreaking to watch that.

"It puts me under extra pressure to be composed."

She said lifting the restriction to a 10-mourner limit was not much, but it would be helpful.

Instead of gathering together after a funeral service, which is tradition in Australian culture, allowing people to reflect on the life of the dearly departed, families must leave immediately after the service.

"It's a double whammy," Ms Cadwallader said.

She said that some families were delaying funeral services in the hope restrictions are lifted, but there's only so long they can be delayed.

"The funeral director I work for said there are people who are delaying funerals, but they can only hold people for 28 days without getting an extension," she said.

"It's not encouraged.

"A lot of people are opting for direct cremation. It's a very cold, clinical way of dealing with someone's life.

"I'm sure the ramifications will be felt for people down the track for those who haven't had the chance to farewell a loved one."