Small funerals a big heartache for bereaved, says Cork undertaker

Small funerals a big heartache for bereaved, says Cork undertaker

Funeral director Donal Forde, South Gate Bridge, Cork seated behind a protective screen.

A FUNERAL director has described the tragic impact of Covid-19 restrictions on families struggling to say goodbye to loved ones.

Previously, funeral director Donal Forde, of Fordes Funeral Home on Southgate Bridge, said he would be on his feet for three hours as mourners paid their respects to families. Now, the numbers have been reduced to just 10, making funerals significantly shorter and sometimes difficult for mourners.

According to Mr Forde, one of the biggest challenges for large families is trying to choose who can attend. Restrictions mean he is now having to split the number of family members and allocate different time slots.

“Every family is different,” he said. “However, I know that for many, picking 10 family members is the hardest part. It’s been difficult for families. Even if they are all from the same bubble, only 10 can be allowed in a church together.

“At the traditional Irish funeral, there are huge crowds. The whole community was able to come together and show their support, but that can no longer happen. It’s slightly different now. Our days are busier because you want to make sure that the funeral is as meaningful as possible for those attending. However, it’s still not the same for families.”

Mr Forde outlined how the pandemic is forcing bereaved families to grieve alone and in silence.

Previously, funeral director Donal Forde, of Fordes Funeral Home on Southgate Bridge, said he would be on his feet for three hours as mourners paid their respects to families. Now, the numbers have been reduced to just 10, making funerals significantly shorter and sometimes difficult for mourners.
Previously, funeral director Donal Forde, of Fordes Funeral Home on Southgate Bridge, said he would be on his feet for three hours as mourners paid their respects to families. Now, the numbers have been reduced to just 10, making funerals significantly shorter and sometimes difficult for mourners.

“One of the saddest things you see at the crematorium is the family all going in separate directions. They are going home to grieve alone whereas before they had something to eat and drink together and shared different stories.”

He urged the Government to reconsider current restrictions for grieving families.

“It’s not for me to say what the Government should decide. However, to bring the number up from 10 to 25 would make things a lot easier for families. It would mean they could at least all attend the funereal together.”

Mr Forde pointed out how the pandemic is prolonging the grieving process.

“In many ways, this is prolonging the grieving process for people. Neighbours and friends will understandably want to show their respects when the time is right and it is safe to do so again.”

Taoiseach Micheál Martin recently said he would consider concerns voiced by Catholic archbishops at a meeting about restrictions in relation to restrictions on public worship and Easter celebrations.

Mr Forde said: “We have been listening to this news and hope that there will be an update soon. The numbers are coming down but not as quickly as we’d like. We know the government has a difficult job and the last thing we want is to be critical. We can’t imagine that the government will make any big jumps soon, but even bringing numbers up to 25 would mean a lot.”

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