'Confined in sorrow': Former Governor General mourns loss of aunt without a funeral
TORONTO -- Canada’s former Governor General Michaelle Jean is mourning the death of her aunt to COVID-19, a loss she says is even more difficult because her family cannot gather for a funeral.
“My aunt died yesterday of coronavirus in a long-term care center in Montreal,” Jean tweeted on Saturday.
"The family could neither assist nor accompany her in her last moments. The funeral services are responsible for cremating her remains. No farewell ceremonies. Confined in sorrow.”
Jean’s story is one that has become all too familiar for many Canadians during the pandemic, and she expressed concern for others grieving.
“My thoughts are with all those, all the families who, like us, are facing these difficult moments. We are of the same humanity and we have to go through this ordeal knowing that we are not alone,” she tweeted.
With physical distancing measures in place, funeral homes across the country have been forced to adapt. In many cases, families have had little choice but to forego a memorial service.
Brett Watson, president of the Funeral Services Association of Canada, said live-streamed ceremonies are an alternative offered to grieving families since large gatherings are prohibited.
“We try to work with families to meet their needs, but it has definitely been a challenge,” Watson told CTV News Channel on Saturday.
As of Saturday, 1,470 people in Canada have died of COVID-19 with more than 33,000 confirmed cases. More than half of all total cases and deaths have been reported in Quebec.