COVID-19 lockdown and social distancing measures have restricted funerals and memorial events and have limited the face-to-face social networks that grieving people might normally be able to draw upon for emotional support. However, while there is considerable expert informed speculation about the impacts of grief and ‘COVID bereavement’, detailed accounts of experiences of bereavement and bereavement support during the pandemic have the potential to enrich and provide nuance and subtlety to the evidence base. This paper draws on diary accounts of bereavement support volunteers in the UK, who have been providing support for the bereaved through these challenging times. These reveal layers of complexity to the experiences of loss, grief and bereavement during these extraordinary times. However, they also point to a number of additional themes that lend a more positive valence to the suspension of normal social expectations and memorial practices associated with the pandemic, which, we argue should be reflected upon for their potential to address the discontents of contemporary governance of end of life and bereavement.
- SPS Centre for Research in Health and Social Care
- covid 19
- compassionate communities